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Paring: Hashirama Senju/Sakura Haruno
Naruto belongs to Masashi Kishimoto.
Ink danced along lines as a brush painted calligraphy across a scroll; a daft hand was taking notes as was dictated with a soft body posture. There was a sprig of life in the air, and black eyes flitted over to an energetic girl. Who would have thought, that Madara Uchiha, would be taking notes for his sister's upcoming wedding.
For him, it was turning to be more bittersweet than he thought.
The little rose haired girl that used to crawl into bed with him to soothe her night terrors was to be married in a few short months. She had grown from a timid, sheltered child into a gorgeous bride-to-be. His little Blossom had bloomed before his very eyes, and despite her not venturing into the world Sakura would be leaving them.
Uchihas married within the clan or clanless shinobi; it was hard for the clan to realize that any children she bared would have the Sharingan. And by that connection, so would the Senju. If Tajima was still alive, then he would have been the first of many to protest such a union. Even he and Izuna were skeptical of letting their bloodline go so freely, but they would decide what to do when the time came.
"-ani? Madara-ani? Are you listening?"
The clan leader looked up and saw that the ink from his brush was bleeding through the back of the scroll, Sakura frowning as plates were being placed in front of them by their servants. Little daifuku pieces and kazunoko were served on dainty plates, and he blanched when his sister glared at him "Sorry? Can you repeat that Blossom?"
She shook her head at him and pointed to the food being brought out, "I asked what do you think works better. Kazunoko? Or should we be less traditional and have more Akimichi styled foods? I like the tonkatsu and gyudon from this one restaraunt..." Madara sat back as she went on about the different types of foods.
There was something different about her however, it had been weeks after their confrontation and the departure of the Uzumaki and Sakura had changed a little bit. Her demeanor had shifted a bit; the young Uchiha held herself with the grace of a battle hardened shinobi even though she had never been apart of a battle before. While still childish and cheerful, Sakura was more subdued.
Sakura was a woman now.
With her upcoming wedding she had grown to be more mature, and commanded everyone's presence whenever she walked into a room. "Hmmm, we've all grown fond of the Akimichi cuisine. But I'll make a note to ask Hashirama later," he commented as they started to taste the small portions of food brought out to them.
"Ewww! Why would anyone want to eat this?" Sakura cried out when she brought the kazunoko to her mouth. The roe was not pleasant for some and Madara smiled at her disgusted face.
"It's a symbol of fertility and prosperity Blossom-"
"Nope!" she interrupted and gave the plate back to a servant before looking for another dish to try. Her green eyes lighting up at the sight of her favorite gyoza, and Madara noted that it was something to serve at the wedding. He broke his chopsticks and reached out to grab one, only to startle when Sakura wacked him with her own chopsticks quicker than his trained eyes can see. "Mine," and Sakura laughed at his petulant face.
There she was, the little sister that he missed was back in full throttle. "Blossom-" and he reached again. Madara's Sharingan was lightly spinning and he smirked when he snatched a little dumpling from under her protective chopsticks. Despite the childish actions, he was happy in that moment. It was like they were children again.
It was a bright spot in his busy life.
Between balancing budgets with Hashirama and Tobirama as well as sitting through council meetings day in and day out; there was no actual time to spend with his sister. "It's been too long since we've been able to sit together as a family," he commented as the gyoza was taken up with Sakura's approval and katsudon was placed in its stead.
The rosette nodded, "You and Izuna-ani have been worked into the ground. So has Hashirama-kun and Tobirama."
"Mhmm, Izuna wanted to be here today, but more for the free food than anything," Madara laughed with Sakura. They both understood that while Izuna was happy for Sakura, he probably would have shown up only to get some food in before dinner. "Then again, I would have fought him because if I have to be on one more board meeting then..." he trailed off.
Green eyes shown amusement, "Maybe then I would have had a shot at being the Clan Leader."
Laughter rang freely between the siblings as the last of the food was brought out. They easily wasted the minutes away, sitting in complete comfort and sampling food. Neither having the time to really sit and chat with the other, Sakura was more than happy to indulge her brother in what she had planned out for the wedding. Just as Madara was equally as happy to sit and have another cherished moment with his little sister.
There have been no problems within the last weeks about her control over what was in her head. Madara was glad for that, he didn't understand what was happening to Sakura but understood that she was getting better. Yes, he knew that Kaguya was probably influencing her, but both he and Izuna had chosen to drop the issue. Well, for as long as Sakura knew.
Behind curtains and meetings, there was a nonstop need for knowledge. Fuuinjutsu and and different types of animal contracts were sought out and consequentially ruled out. They weren't sure how to get rid of Kaguya, but they understood that there was no possible they were able to extract the goddess safely.
They were at an impasse.
"Maybe so Blossom," he chuckled. Madara gave her a small smile as the last of the savory foods were replaced with little desserts; his fringe briefly distracting him until he pushed his hair back from his eyes. She hummed under her breath as they both snacked on little namagashi and wagashi, for her this was truly peaceful. Her tiny frame was practically vibrating with happiness.
For two hours they both talked over colors, cloths, table settings, seating arrangements, and anything and everything that concerned a wedding. Despite the mind-numbing topic, both were happy to have spent the time together and Madara was going to start the actual preparations for Sakura. They had about one to two months left before the wedding and it was now go time.
The siblings said their goodbyes when it was time for Madara to go back to his office and get ready for his next few meetings with Hashirama. Sakura was left to her own devices once more. She merely wandered the halls of the Uchiha main house, and conversed with the entities in her mind. The two were bickering again, Haru finally losing the strength to stay in Sakura's conscious for more than a few hours at a time. Instead of her being steadfast and constant like she had been in the previous months since her engagement, the other spirit was fading away.
Sakura was mourning the loss of Haru, but she knew that Kaguya was becoming someone to trust. The goddess was doing her best to warn Sakura about some things and people; she advised her when Sakura needed it. It was concerning at first, since the goddess had been the object of her fears and nightmares ever since she could remember. But then again, there was no real reason to be afraid, not anymore.
Child, there was never any real threat to you. I want what is best for you and for Ashura.
"And how was I supposed to know that. I've only ever seen the cruel part of you from my dreams."
Ahh yes, I understand that Haru has been unknowingly projecting her memories on you. But you must know that your body is too small for three minds, one of us has to go.
Sakura looked out into the backyard of her home and stopped in her tracks, "What do you mean?"
Kaguya let out a soft laugh, Haru will dissolve into nothing, she will merge with you completely. She's sealed away her memories, the personal bits at least, but her knowledge remains. Dear child, sweet Blossom, you are blessed and burdened with knowledge. The entity caressed her mind softly, as if she were her mother. I intended to be here for you and Ashura, I will move heaven and earth to see my grandchildren happy.
The rosette shook her head, she didn't want to lose Haru. She was afraid of losing someone, she didn't want to have knowledge without the soul that had lived through it. The weight of the knowledge wasn't worth the price of it.
"Is it true?" Sakura asked, "Is she lying to me?"
The spirit merely sighed, Why ask questions that you know the answer to? Baka, I am sorry, but I won't let you burden my memories anymore. I've had my time, and I am more than happy to have changed the future. If you are lucky then you will never go through what I have. I've loved, lost, and fought more than I ever wanted. I don't want to leave you, but I am happy to go.
As I said child, I will watch over you.
But I am sorry that you have to deal with this ancient bitch by yourself.
The young Uchiha sighed as the two began to argue again. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and frowned at the rhombus she saw, Sakura felt like she's seen it somewhere. The teen rubbed at her temples, well if there was one thing she would be glad about was the fact that they would stop fighting. "Stop you're making my head hurt," she grumbled.
Her bright green eyes were replaced with the red of the Sharingan. She heard a small creak in the wood behind her, and both Kaguya and Haru stopped their arguing at the slight sound.
Sakura turned to see Oka Uchiha standing there; her eyes a dangerous red and her hands gripping a glinting kunai. "Oka-san, don't do this," she pleaded, but the older woman was furious. Her neck had healed nicely from her near strangulation, but her voice was rougher than it used to be. The lady that had taught her decorum had lost all of hers.
"You stole my voice in the clan, you marry the clan that killed my boy, and you dare order me around," the Sharingan spun faster in Sakura's eyes as she backed to the door. "You little, entitled bitch!" Oka rasped and she charged forward.
Now. Thank you for your sacrifice Sakura Haruno.
Sakura felt her head pound from the pain of her headache, and then she felt a sharp stabbing sensation behind her eyes. The beautiful rhombus on her forehead blurred into existence and her small chakra coils grew exponentially. The memories of jutsus and techniques were almost second nature when she doubled over from the pain. Haru whispered her final goodbye as Sakura stood back up.
The young princess held her arms up when the older woman charged her, and she hesitated on what to do. The sharp kunai dug into flesh and the rosette's white outer kimono dyed itself red. She could have stopped the attack, but the teenage mind in her blanked and Kaguya cursed in her mind.
The goddess took the time to flash her vessel's chakra briefly and let it die quickly.
Help would be there soon.
It had been such a good afternoon, Hashirama thought numbly as Tsukiko Uchiha stumbled into the meeting room of the Hokage Tower. She cried out her fears and the news that Oka had truly lost it this time. The older woman was in tears as Madara grabbed her and flash stepped his way to the Uchiha main house with Hashirama on his tail.
He was happy. Madara had told him about how he and Sakura were going over wedding arrangements and had asked his opinion about some of the choices they made together. The clan heads were deeply engrossed in the shared payments of such arrangements when Tsukiko burst into the room.
Now he was terrified.
His bride-to-be was on the ground motionless in her own home, a dead clanswoman was slumped against the wall next to her. Tsubasa Uchiha was putting pressure on the jagged wound on Sakura's chest, she was frantic and let out a shaky laugh of relief when she saw Hashirama. "Ho-Hokage-sama! Hurry!" and he snapped out of his stupor and ran to the rosette.
Her breathing was shallow and her blank green eyes were staring into nothing, but they moved over to look in his direction. "Go get some warm water, NOW!" he ordered as he dropped to his knees in a warm, red liquid.
"Sakura-chan, can you hear me?"
The Uchiha didn't show any inclination that she heard him, and he carefully began his work. He pulled at the edges of her kimono and bindings to clear the wound of any debris. There was no indication of poisoning, so he was glad for that. Hashirama placed his hands on her and pumped the slightest bits of chakra into her system, and cursed when it was all drawn to Sakura's forehead.
"Madara! Look at the seal on her forehead! It's taking in all my healing chakra!"
The eldest Uchiha sibling crouched by his sister and took in the purple seal curiously. He growled in frustration, "I don't know enough about fuuinjutsu to comprehend this, where's Tobirama?"
Hashirama shook his head, "He's out in the Capitol, attending a meeting with the daimyo."
They were shit out of luck, and he looked at the labored rise and fall of her chest. Hashirama grabbed the small bin of warm water that was placed next to him and poured some onto his sleeve before he dabbed gently at the wound. He clenched his jaw and began to channel as much chakra as he could into her, he would redirect a small portion to her forehead where the seal ate it all greedily.
Both he and Madara watched as the deep gash healed slowly; her new, baby pink skin grew with Hashirama's careful direction. But, the more he healed her the more chakra that the seal ate.
He watched her pained expression slowly fade, and she grabbed blindly for someone's hand. Both he and Madara came to a conclusion in that moment, she was in danger among to Uchiha. She was in danger by herself, and worse off the goddess in her head didn't do anything to help her. Hell, Madara didn't even know if it was capable of helping or if it was trapped inside of his sister.
When Hashirama finished his healing and broke contact with Sakura, he swept his sister into his arms. The long haired Uchiha walked with her curled up in his arms to Sakura's room.
The Hokage followed silently and he and Madara sat in vigil next to her bedside.
"You will marry her before the month is over."
Hashirama looked at his best friend in question, "I know we were going to wait until her sixteenth birthday, it's close enough to count though." Madara gave the Senju and tiny, broken smile. "There are still Uchiha that resented me and my family for our choices to integrate with the Senju and make a village. They still feel anger over the war, and they have resented Sakura for her decision to marry you and they have hated us for sanctioning it."
The Uchiha looked so old in that moment, his laugh lines were deep as he contemplated his next words.
"I don't want her life to be in vain, so take care of her and keep her safe within Senju walls. Take her out so she can see the world. I don't care how you do it, but you will keep her hale and whole."
"Of course brother," Hashirama vowed, "I will spend my life keeping her happy and safe. You need not worry."
Madara sniffed, "I'm her brother, I will always worry."
Both sat through the night with her. Whenever Sakura broke out into a cold sweat Hashirama was there to channel his cooling chakra into her; when Tsukiko came in to change the young teen they both turned their heads. Neither said a word when Izuna came to join them in their silent vigil, and all of them waited through the night and most of the day.
She looked peaceful, she lay there with her eyes shut and her body covered in bandages and an easily accessible yukata. Sakura didn't move and the purple seal on her forehead stood out on her pale forehead.
Two days had passed before she awoke, the room was dark and both Izuna and Madara were sleeping propped up against each other. She turned to see Hashirama slumped against a wall. His legs were splayed out in front of him and he held onto a kunai in his sleep. The young princess turned her head back to her brothers and saw that they both had weapons out. Madara's gunbai was right next to him and Izuna's katana was laying across his lap.
Go back to sleep Blossom, you have some healing to do.
What? She fought against her exhaustion and tried to channel her thoughts to Haru, but there was nothing but emptiness. Sakura let out a small groan but sleep reclaimed her.
In her mind's eyes she saw that the white tree was still giant, but it resembled one of Hashirama's trees more than the monstrosity it did before. The cracks and gouges that had been in the tree were healed, and Sakura noticed that the seal was completely whole again. The white lines were pristine, but the space was empty. Instead of the red blossoms that used to inhabit her tree, they were pink instead.
She could see memories of textbooks and scrolls, information that she could only dream of were dangling in front of her. Sakura noticed that Haru was gone completely, the other spirit left behind nothing but knowledge. Just as Kaguya promised she would. She didn't think that it could happen so soon and she walked over to the tree and curled up next to it.
There was no one to counsel her on how men are, no one to give her advice on kimono styles, and no one to tell her romantic stories that have happened in real life.
"Sweet girl," and Sakura looked up to see Kaguya floating towards her. The goddess's white hair was swinging behind her in a faux breeze and Sakura wanted Haru to be there. With her ripped blue jumpsuit and sweet tone, the spirit would have made a great mother. "Do you mourn her? She was a good mentor to you was she not?"
Sakura nodded, "She was. I wish she was still here."
"That's the thing about life Blossom, it takes from us at the most unexpected times. It is both cliched and random at the same time. But worry not, I will be here for you. Go and learn from what she had preserved for you, it is your inheritance."
The young Uchiha looked up as a wind blew through her mind and flower blossoms fell from the tree. She opened her hands and watched as a pink blossom revealed to her the intricacies of the Mystic Palm Techinique, while another floated into view with the similarities of the fish and human organ systems. She sat there and learned obediently under Kaguya's watching eyes.
Time was passing them by.
She learned control, how to walk on any surface, how to dodge projectiles, and much more than that. The Uchiha could recite the hand seals needed for the Phoenix Flower Jutsu, while at the same time she was sure that she could write the multiple handbooks for children starting in the academy. Kaguya would occasionally drift over to correct something that she had seen, but for the most part she did nothing.
Her mind was filled with every useful thing that Haru had deigned to leave her. Sakura opened her hands for one last blossom and was surprised to look in and see nothing about education in there. Instead it was Haru, and the woman looked at peace as she lay next to a silver haired man. She smiled at the man and Sakura gasped when she realized that that was the Kakashi that Haru would talk about.
"What will we name them?" Haru asked him and he pondered for a small bit.
"Yuuri for a girl and Tetsuya for a boy."
Haru frowned and rubbed a hand on her distended stomach, "I don't like that name, Tetsuya sounds so stuffy."
Kakashi chuckled, "We'll figure it out when the time comes, I promise."
The Uchiha smiled and tucked the blossom away for safe keeping, but she was glad that she had something to remember the strong spirited soul. She merely lay back against the truck of her tree and waited for the time for her to wake up. She didn't want to worry her brothers or Hashirama, but then again she didn't want them to think that she was weak for not being able to defend herself from Oka.
It was all one big mess, and the teen sighed.
This wasn't how she envisioned her day to go, Sakura was supposed to go out and get some dinner for her and Hashirama. They were gonna then take a walk around the residential district and then he would have escorted her home. It was supposed to be romantic, but instead she hesitated to attack and it ruined her day.
Sakura closed her eyes and let the calm of her mind take her.
Hashirama Senju was a man that loved openly and protected fiercely, but he also was not the most patient of people and some would say that he had a gambling problem. Though he would happily say that he was a worry wart as well. His bride-to-be was just as impatient as he was and recovery had been a tedious thing for her to go through.
She wanted to go full throttle through the wedding preparations, but was limited to what she was allowed to do. The Uchiha had been confined to her bedroom for a week after her attack, and she was not a happy camper. Instead she was quick to anger, even Hashirama had to tread lightly around her. He had been the one to decide that she needed two weeks of bed rest. The Senju didn't want her to get an infection or to overwork herself, and may have overestimated her actual recovery time.
Both Madara and Izuna hovered around her for the first week; neither of them had decided whether or not she was truly okay. They brought her finalized invitations, and decided to go against a formal dinner with the Senju clan elders. For every decision she made, they took two more away from her. Sakura hadn't seen the wedding venue, nor had she seen her own uchikake.
All she could do was sign off on certain arrangements that had been decided on by both Izuna and Madara. And frankly it was pissing her off.
Sakura was trying to listen to Kaguya lecture her about patience and not to lose face in times of turmoil, but she was fine! Hashirama and her brothers were taking this too far!
It was mid morning in the middle of her second week of recovery when she decided to get out of bed. The rosette struggled to dress herself in the yukata that had been laid out for when she had to go take a bath. She couldn't tie the obi as tight as Tsukiko, and she worried that her chest bindings would be seen if she didn't tie it tight enough.
The pink haired teen tiptoed to the door and reached out with her chakra a little and frowned when she felt someone standing at her door. She quietly made her way to the window and forced herself to barely open the window. It was large enough for her to squeeze out and she was almost out when the back of her obi snagged on something. Sakura tugged it and winced at the audible ripping noise it made.
She checked her torso and made sure that her yukata was still firmly in place before she made a run for it. Sakura smiled as she ran through the courtyard and ducked through the alleys and ran over walkways to the main road. The young teen ducked around carts and looked up to the rooftops; she had seen it in the old memories that were left to her by Haru. Her lips drew into a fine line as she used her chakra to propel herself into the air, and she let out a loud gasp.
Her feet hit the roof with a loud bang, and she stumbled, nearly falling off the roof if she didn't stabilize herself with her hands. The Uchiha nodded to herself, and like the memories she continuously used her chakra at a steady rate to criss cross over the rooftops. The teen laughed as she zipped through the Uchiha district and she gave passing shinobi a small salute on her way through town.
Something inside of her felt free and she embraced that feeling as she skid to a stop.
This is what it felt like to be a ninja, even children could perform the rooftop jumping. Sakura grinned brightly as she slid down the roof and jumped to the ground. People around her weren't even fazed when a person dropped from the sky, and she blended into the crowds. You should be resting Blossom. Kaguya said idly.
"I'm sick and tired of being in bed all the time," she whined.
Your health is more important than your wants.
Sakura pouted, but didn't deign to answer. She knew that her health was important but was also very tired of lazing around.
"Sakura-chan?" someone called out for her. Turning around was agonizing but she gave a weak wave to an amused Hashirama who was standing with his hands on his hips. Looking very much like a berating mother, more specifically he looked like Madara did when she would steal sweets as a child. "Sakura-chan what are you doing out?" he asked.
Hashirama offered her his arm and she took it reluctantly, Sakura had just left her house only to get intercepted on her little impromptu trip. "How did you know I was out?" she asked him and he gave her a boyish smile that made her heart beat a little faster.
"I was coming by with some food from the Akimichi matriarch, she sends her thanks for the invitation to the wedding. Though, I decided to see if I could find you, but it was easy seeing as you haven't learned to mask your chakra signature," Hashirama commented as they cut through the residential district. He grinned at her, "I didn't know you knew how to jump like that."
His young bride gave him a small smile, "I didn't know I could do that either."
Silently, they both walked back to the Uchiha district, people would wave at them or give the Hokage greetings. They were all met with a pleasant smile and small chatters, but both kept walking on. Every now and then she would look up to see him staring at the purple rhombus on her forehead. His head was constantly working out the seal, but for the most part it was just storing the chakra that she wasn't using.
The seal didn't bother her, she remembered Haru having that seal as well. Though it bothered her brothers more than it did for Hashirama, since both Madara and Izuna freaked out when they saw the bright shape. Her brothers' first instincts were to bring her to the old Main House and scour their father's old books and scroll for information on the seal. Though necessity had them keep her safe in bed and healing from her injury; while it was no longer life threatening it was certainly going to scar.
Her porcelain skin was disrupted by the thick white of her scar, but she wasn't concerned with it. Haru had once been heavily scarred and told her once that there was no shame in having scars. They were symbols that you have lived and they were something to be proud of.
"Sakura-chan? If you wanted to go visit someplace, where would you wish to go?" Hashirama broke the silence with a question and she pondered on it. There were so many beautiful places in the world to go visit.
She nodded, "I'd like to go the Land of Hot Springs. Or maybe the Land of Tea."
"Those are good choices! I've been to the Land of Tea before, but maybe after we get married I'll take you to the Land of Hot Springs," he promised her and Sakura nodded.
She gave him a wide smile, "I'd like that Hashirama-kun."
The Hokage blushed and looked away, "If you want, you can call me Hashirama. We're gonna be married after all."
When they got to the Uchiha Main House, he gave her hand a brief kiss before bidding her goodbye. Sakura went wide eyed and then scrambled inside of her house as quick as possible, ignoring his chuckles as she climbed up the wooden stairs as quick as possible.
She slid to the floor in front of the door and buried her face in her hands.
Gods, she was one big teenage mess.
Hey guys! So sorry for the long wait, but life was getting rough for the last few months and I had to take a break in writing to sort out my problems.
Ragehappy Mavin Fan