Chapter 1: Only the Beginning
“Mommy? Daddy? Youw come back, wight?”
Mebuki crouched down and pulled her five-year old in a tight hug.
“Of course we will, Sakura-chan. Your Dad and I are only going on a B-rank. We should return in two days. You can take care of yourself, right?”
“Un!” Sakura grinned. She turned around and jumped into her father’s waiting arms. Kizashi chuckled and ruffled her hair. With one last wave, the two jounin left the house, leaving their innocent little girl all alone.
She was in the corner of the hospital room, her knees pressed to her chest, and her teary emerald eyes locked onto the two people hidden under crisp, white sheets. For two hours she’d been here, draining all her tears and wishing that Mommy and Daddy would come back to her. A blonde man crouched before the five year old.
“What’s the matter?”
“Mo-Mommy and D-Daddy… they… they’we so cold… I twied to wawm th-them… I-I twied to wake them up… bu-but they wou-wouldn’t… Mommy and Daddy won’t come back!!” she cried, burying her face in her arms. The Yondaime Hokage patted her head and walked to a passing nurse.
“That little girl… she’s the daughter of Kizashi and Mebuki Haruno, isn’t she?” Minato questioned. He glanced over his shoulder briefly at the bawling girl. The nurse looked through her clipboard before nodding slightly.
“Hai, Hokage-sama. Kizashi and Mebuki Haruno went on a B-rank turned S-rank and were attacked by a missing-nin. The back up team arrived at the scene, but they were too late. They saw a glimpse of the attacker before he disappeared. His description: tan skin, about six feet tall, pure black cloak, white hood, black mask, green eyes, and a scratch through his Takigakure hitai-ate. Their daughter is named Sakura. No family besides her parents,” the nurse said, “Poor girl. Says she doesn’t want to live with anyone besides her parents and requests to live alone. Based on the Haruno’s finances, Sakura has enough money to sustain herself until she’s fifteen.”
“She’ll live in her parents house. It’s paid off fully. She is able to live there, but we just need your OK, Hokage-sama.”
Minato sighed and looked at the little girl again. This time, she’d stopped crying, but her gaze was once again locked on the hospital beds. He could always send her to the orphanage or a foster home, but that would go against what Sakura wanted, possibly making her miserable. His back straightened. If he had to make the same decision for his son, what would he do? He walked to the pink-haired five year old.
“Sakura-chan… do you really wish to live all by yourself?”
She sniffed and looked up.
“H-Hai, Hokage-sama. I don’t wanna wive wif anyone ewse besides Mommy and Daddy. I don’t want anyone taking Mommy and Daddy’s pwace. I can take cawe of mysewf. I pwomise.”
And here she was, standing in the middle of the two story house- all alone. To her, it seemed like a miracle that Hokage-sama allowed these living conditions for her. It might be hard at first, but she’d manage. There were books in her father’s personal library that she could teach herself with, weapons hidden about the house that she could learn to use, and easy recipe books her mother kept in the cupboards above the stove.+
But money and the bills…
Her next door neighbor, Anko, promised that she’d help her with finances and all that. Sakura walked to the fridge and pulled out the umeboshi onigiri her mother made for her before she left. The girl sat at the table and bit into it cold, not bothering to warm it up. She took another bite, this time a fresh set of tears spilling down her cheeks.