"I'd rather paint the world bright

than see it black and white."

Carol & Tuesday, Message in the Wind.

What does it mean to join a military dictatorship? To steal, kill, murder? Trouble comes from all angles; tough training, ruthless enemies, rampaging misogyny, refugee brother, and most of all, teaching morals and identity to children. No, wait, fix that – not only children, but she's also got a lot of adults treating her as the one-stop therapist, and that demands every ounce of wisdom she's accrued.
Oniyuri's ready for the challenge.

NOTES: Wow, thank you for clicking onto my story! It means a lot

The first thing you should know is that you do NOT have to read the previous one in this series (Lily in the Maelstrom). It does deal with the OC's life before this fic, however, I don't like the quality of writing and plot, so I'm writing this story in a way you don't have to read the previous one.
In fact, I'd rather you not. I'm keeping it up for recording and to keep the nice comments I've received, that's it.

In regards to this story itself, I will be using songs as the theme/chapter names. It's just something I wanted to do - you don't have to listen to the songs itself. I'll try to stick to English and Japanese songs but no promise πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Also, no, there isn't an update schedule.

This story is also on Ao3 and SpaceBattle forums.


PROLOGUE

He was in a good mood, he realised. Often, the sight beyond the window fascinated him. He liked to watch people go by, listen to the sound of trees, but it was hard with the official work that constantly plagued him.

Sarutobi Hiruzen disliked paperwork, no matter that it was a necessary pain when running a village. With decades of experience under his belt, he was used to ignoring all foreign distractions (within limitations) and buckling down to write lines and lines down. He needed to read every document as it was crucial to know everything to run a village.

Today, though… Hiruzen shook his head as he shuffled his seat until he was facing away from the window and dipped his brush into the inkpot again. How distracted was he to let the ink dry before writing anything? A sigh escaped him as he let the brush rest and picked up the mission report to scrutinise.

A few minutes later, and his fingers were lightly tapping the desk surface as he watched the morning sunlight play with the office plant's leaves. He counted the fact that he was at least thinking about the mission report as a success.

The task completed and the scroll set aside, Hiruzen took a chance to stand and stretch. Today was turning out to be a not so productive day, and he knew when to cut his losses and stop forcing himself.

He leaned through the window, watching the entrance of the building. From this height, anybody looked like dark squirming grains of rice. Yet something was fascinating about watching his village carry on without him.

Hiruzen cleaned up his desk. He left a few inconsequential documents alone, but anything with any degree of confidentiality was stored away. It was never a good idea to leave paperwork alone without supervision. With the Hokage hat nestled on his head, Hiruzen exited his office.

His secretary pulled him over as soon as he shut the door. They talked about a few appointments due that day, and he confided that today wasn't going to be a productive day. Sachiko, bless her soul, understood and asked if he wanted to take the rest of the morning off. The two of them understood that sometimes it just wasn't feasible to force work.

Hiruzen took the chance gladly. Anything before noon was cancelled or postponed, and he left Sachiko's desk with a weight lifted from his shoulders.

The Hokage tower was moderately busy. Many recognised his relaxed state and refrained from interacting. That was much desired; there were only two hours left until lunchtime, and Hiruzen wanted to make the most of it.

Outside the Hokage tower but still very much tucked behind its massive structure were the gardens; and perhaps while it wasn't literally in the shadow of it, it might figuratively be. The First Hokage had grown it during stressful times, and the Second Hokage had refused to contemplate the removal of it. Now, it was a landmark, a part of Konoha's history.

He settled in one of the many benches and could almost imagine his predecessor beside him, arms crossed and a dark scowl burning the strong grass at their feet.

"They wanted it gone, and now they call it a symbol of Konoha?" Hiruzen sighed at the memory. "Their memory is so malleable."

If he was younger, less controlled, Hiruzen would've loved to tip his head back, much like he did when Tobirama had grumbled about that. Instead, he confided in the fact that the first tree Hashirama grew was still standing strong behind him, branches reaching far and wide over his head. Tobirama curled his lip at the mention of the gardens, yet he could always be found at this bench.

Hiruzen tried to relax, but he could not quite lose himself in the sounds of the garden around him. His bones refused to rest gently on the iron and wood bench. The bench was not for today. Instead, he rose and walked through the lines of plants and trees. He ducked through the tunnel of wisteria, leaves and roots twisting around the wooden frame, and towards the flowering shrubs.

Roses were always popular, so they dotted the entrance to the area, outstripping any other kind in number by far. While none were flowering, he knew that white cluttered around the wisteria tunnel to complement the colours when the tree bloomed. Other colours branched out from there, including black, which took a lot of energy and time on the gardener's behalf and only flowered during the hotter months. They were lucky that Konoha had the right climate to grow them out in the open, though even then some years it was a struggle.

He brushed his fingers over an orange rose. They symbolised passion and energy if he recalled correctly. Hiruzen thought about why he was so distracted today. With a smile, he withdrew a kunai and cut off three roses – one orange, one peach, and one yellow. He stripped the stem of the thorns and tucked the kunai away.

Further into the flowering shrubs area were the peonies, rhododendrons, hydrangeas and more. None were flowering – it was too early in the year for that. Instead, having gotten the roses, he exited and headed towards the tower once more.

He passed a gathering of lilies. The message he had received a few weeks ago popped into his head and he felt a smile tugging his mouth. Unfortunately, there weren't any orange lilies with black flecks – some of the lilies had a soft pink blush or a darker pink, but the most popular was by far the pure white kind.

"Perhaps it's best to get a new kind of lily." He murmured, feeling a petal between his thumb and the side of his index finger. He didn't choose to take a lily though – the roses would have to do.

He rested the roses on his shoulder like a dozing child and returned to the Tower. It was slightly emptier now that lunch was approaching but the lounges and corridors were dotted with gathered people, chatting among themselves.

Hiruzen approached his secretary's desk. He couldn't see Sachiko though, because a massive man with tremendously wide shoulders was bent over the raised counters. Two children were pressed up against his sides, trying their best to see.

He recognised the clan symbol printed on the dark blue yukata. "Suisei Bara, come to flirt with everyone again?"

The man turned, a smile seen through his trimmed beard. Sachiko leaned to see around his massive frame (his shoulders weren't bigger than his waist like he'd seen several other younger men try for; since puberty, his body had always been thicker around his hips and Hiruzen knew he was far more powerful than the top-heavy type) and Hiruzen was quietly relieved to see a smile on her face. It had been some time since he'd seen Bara and he was glad to see his personality remained the same.

"Sarutobi-san! I was just catching up with Sachiko-chan. Last time I talked to her, she only just got engaged with her husband!" Bara's deep voice echoed across the room; it had truly been some time since that was a regular sound at the Tower. "Now I hear that she has a two-year-old!"

"Yes – Sana is quite a lovely girl." He dropped his gaze down to the children beside Bara. "I don't think these are yours?"

Bara chuckled, waving his hand. "Oh no, oh no. They're just from the clan, somehow related to me."

The girl stepped forward. She looked like Bara in a way that all clan members looked similar, but on one hand, her eyes wider than typical in Konoha, and her hair was a riot of curls. On the other hand, he could tell the girl had a parent from outside of the clan – outside of Kumo as well, which was where the clan was from. Her skin, while firmly black, was lighter than Bara's; her hair was wavy, not curly or coily like he'd seen other Suisei clan members support; and her eyes were a lighter brown. He couldn't say anything about her nose and lips because she wore a black cloth mask over her mouth and nose. She wore the blue Suisei yukata with the sleeves tied back, and her hands gripped the straps of her backpack.

She stepped forward and bowed deeply to him. "It's very nice to meet you, Hokage-sama. I am Suisei Oniyuri." He expected the formal language despite years of knowledge telling him kids this young wouldn't care for it. Oniyuri rose from her bow and her eyes crinkled; she was almost bouncing in her geta. "This is my brother, Suisei Ajisai."

The other boy was like Oniyuri in that one parent wasn't from the clan or Kumo, but his features were more foreign than his sister. One parent had to be from Iwa and the other parent had to have genes from Iwa because his hair was a very dirty blonde (nearly unheard of in the Suisei clan) and his eyes were a dark blue (also incredibly rare because of the inherent recessiveness of blue eyes). There was no way that the two children were blood siblings, but he had heard of stranger things from the Suisei clan.

Ajisai didn't speak, but he met Hiruzen's eyes without trouble. Not shy, but conservative.

He looked at his flowers. Originally the peach rose would've gone to Oniyuri, but now he felt that the yellow was more suited towards the energetic girl.

"Here's a little welcoming gift," he said, giving Ajisai the peach rose, Oniyuri the yellow and Bara the orange. "The garden did not have any tiger lilies and the hydrangea is not in season, so all I could get were roses."

"Thanks." The boy took the peach rose without a blink, uncaring of the feminine colour. The girl beamed at the yellow rose, bringing it close to her eyes and studying it closely. Bara took his namesake with a grin, rolling the stem between his fingers.

"It's been a while since someone has tried to woo me with roses." He gestured to Hiruzen's office. "Shall we continue behind closed doors?" He accepted the segue, taking the lead to his door, the three Suisei following behind him.

"I am forever faithful to Biwako, unfortunately, so I'll have to pass. Sachiko, could you bring in some tea?" His secretary nodded and turned to the jug.

He chose not to settle at his desk and instead took them over to the group of lounge chairs facing each other. Curiously, the children did not stick with their older clan member; the two of them sat together facing Hiruzen, while Bara chose the single chair between the larger three seaters. Sachiko entered with a tray of cups and a large pot of oolong tea. Bara waved off the woman and poured for the four of them.

Oniyuri laid her rose carefully on the table and took a cup with thanks. Ajisai peered at the cup in his sister's hands and made a face.

"I'll have to pass, sorry."

Hiruzen nodded. "Understandable. So, how old are you two?"

"Six," Oniyuri pulled down her mask and took a polite sip of the tea.

Bara chuckled. "He meant your real ages."

The girl cautiously dropped her cup to her lap and scrutinised Hiruzen. "He knows?"

"I don't know all the clan secrets, but kages are told of this secret upon the entry of a Suisei into their town. It makes the transition a little smoother if we know you're not six."

Ajisai nodded approvingly. "I'm forty."

"I'm 44, been in this life for 28 years."

Oniyuri raised her eyebrow at Bara, calculating how old he was when he had died in his previous life. Sixteen and already his life was over? Hiruzen was glad that the Suisei clan could – somehow, the exact details were unknown – remember their previous life and continue with their memories.

Curiously, Oniyuri turned her eyes back to him. "Sixty-eight," he said, "all in this life."

She took a sip of her cup. "Well, I'm not older than all of you collectively." She dropped her age without thought as if he had never heard of anyone living beyond their late 80s. He didn't allow himself to appear shocked though, only nodding in thought at her answer. The other two didn't appear fazed, so either they knew her age already or, like her, lived in a society where centenarians were commonality.

"Well, I now know you'll be able to live alone by yourself without trouble." He dryly remarked.

Oniyuri perked up at his words. "So we don't have to deal with babysitters?"

"Oh thank god." Ajisai groaned.

Hiruzen smiled. "Of course. You could school me into learning a few new things; I doubt I want twenty-year-olds trying to tell me I have a bedtime." They all laughed.

"Ajisai, as I understand, you're here to go through our civilian school." The boy straightened at his attention. "Do you have prior schooling?"

"Yes, I was a mathematician in my previous life." He said. "I would like to study how far this world is in science, and eventually would like to study chakra."

Hiruzen's curiosity rose. "An intriguing path. Did you not have it in your previous life?"

"None of us did," Oniyuri interjected.

"No. We all seem to be from the same world and the same period, and our world used technology and science to do what chakra could do." Ajisai continued. "While we could not – vomit fire, or whatever, we could use chemicals and physics to create a tool that could."

Hiruzen knew that from Bara that his world wasn't so violent (or, more truthfully, was just as violent but kept wars far away from home), so he could pick up the unsaid although we don't need it.

"I look forward to your findings. Your unique perspective could help discover some mysteries about chakra." He said, and then turned to Oniyuri. "You'll be more using chakra, I say?"

She nodded, curly bob cut bouncing. "Yes, I'm quite fascinated by it. It sounds amazing!" Idly, Hiruzen wondered how the older of the two was more energetic – wouldn't it make sense that Oniyuri was the conservative one, with her age? He could see the wisdom in the way she talked, the way she moved, but he could also see the youthful energy that the rest of them had long shed. She was curious, she was interested. She also had the experience to become a very good ninja very quickly; Hiruzen could easily see her graduating at the earliest age possible, and even then they would be holding her back.

He considered the two before him. Ajisai was practically already enrolled in his civilian school as soon as the letter was delivered to him, but becoming a ninja wasn't for the faint-hearted.

"Are you ready for everything that a ninja comes with?" he seriously asked her, holding eye contact. Oniyuri settled quickly, and Hiruzen could see her age in her eyes.

"I do." She knew full well.

"Very well. I welcome you two to Konoha." He smiled at them, taking a sip of his oolong tea. "Shall we begin the talks of where you would like to live?"

"Of course, Hokage-sama." Oniyuri smiled. "Please, call me Yuri. I know that calling me demon lily is a bit strange!"

"I think that Konoha will find your strange very welcoming." It wouldn't be for a few years before Hiruzen would see the results, but Oniyuri – or Yuri – would be a sign of change. Today was simply the beginning of her tale.