Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
The world has always been a strange place if you travel far enough to look.
And Tsuru well, she traveled much further than she could ever imagined.
Fifty-nine years younger she hangs off her fathers tall, powerfully built form like an ill-fitting set of pauldrens and cape. Her stomach pressed firmly against spine. Her head peaks over his shoulder, as they enter her brother in law's office.
A room filled with deadly men in open-toed sandals.
Tsuru waves, as if excited.
Six years ago she would of wobbled in. Her hip fractured, and the cancer spreading through her bones, making the arthritic limbs even more useless. Now she stands just over three feet tall. Her body still frail looking, but growing stronger with each month.
"And how is our little stork today?" the lord fourth teases. The papers in her fathers hands landing in the proper shelf beside him, its shiny name plate denoting village finances.
He's like her, she knows. And not.
The man has been changing things. Pushing them were he wants them without being too obvious, as their predecessors had been. Nothing else, she thinks could explain the state of this worlds technology, and it's faith.
"I am fine, big brother."
"And you?" Tsuru asks, struggling to detangle herself from her father's auburn locks. The hair caught on the feather shaped buttons, Yuuchii-nii had sewn onto her turtleneck's sleeve.
Taiga leans down a second later, to give her purchase on a leather upholstered chair. His face torn by a grimace.
"Oh!" She then adds more gleefully, as she sets herself to the task of removing the trapped locks. "Father says i can join the academy soon!"
"Yes! I'm going to train hard, and become a shinobi like you, and Kisame-san."
A tool, but someone who can also protect themselves. And those she chooses.
A man, who has barely left the awkwardness of his early years laughs. The sharp points of his teeth bared, he steps out of the shadows. His uniform unable to hide the familiar green hands of the Hoshigaki clan.
People who had once, been pearl divers of unparalleled skill.
"A tiny fish like you, needs to be thrown back," Kisame remarks, looming over her. "You'll get eaten."
Tsuru snorts, leaning on the tip of her toes. "The academy's a fish farm. I'll grow quickly under the right conditions. Then you can complain like the fisherman, when I get loose on the boat."
A guffaw escapes her friend, and he wraps her head in a loose hold. Forearm against Tsuru's throat. His other hand more punishing as he musses her dark hair, loosening the the three buns that sit near the base of her skull.
"You shouldn't challenge your elders, brat," he barks.
She snorts, and tries to yank the young anbu's arm from her throat. "You challenge people all the time, Chomper."
Yagura's mouth twitches. "Does that make me Spike, and you Ducky?
"Yes, and Isano's Cera."
Her brother makes a choking sound, Tsuru thinks might be a straggled laugh.
"Do not tell her that," he warns.
"Perhaps I was mistaken, son," Taiga decides. "I do not was Tsu-chan to be disruptive."
Yagura waves him off. "She'll grow bored of us soon, and read that book you got her for the next few hours. It's fine."
"Yes, now go."
They watch their father move to leave, and hesitant. Afraid to let Tsuru out of his sight for long.
"No harm will come to her," Yagura promises.
The man stares at the fourth for a moment to long, and then nods. Heads for the door, before he can change his mind.
And as the door closes Tsuru drops down, and pushes the chair over, scrapping the floor. Her small form settling in next to her sibling, after some squirming.
"You play a child fair better then I did," he mutters into his hand, still amused.
"Though your humor could use some work," Kisame says, folding his arms.
She huffs. "I'm doing the best I can, Chomper. Most children aren't that funny, outside of observational humor."