Fanfiction Online will be sunsetting on September 15th. Read more ×
Breathing In @montenyaofthefairies
Genin: Start of Genin, Part 3

On Saturday morning Sakura wasted no time hopping out of her bedroom window.

She'd awoken slightly late—the day before Sensei had caught Shin daydreaming and they'd all been punished well past dusk—but time didn't stop without her, so she dashed through the alleys that reticulated the Yamanaka compound, scraping by tight corners as she raced to her second cousin's house.

Taiki Yamanaka was short, gangly, and always slightly drunk. He'd worked for the clan, and only the clan, for the entirety of his shinobi career—had pissed off a few too many powerful shinobi to work anywhere else—and he was an expert in Yamanaka Taijutsu Style Eleven, Sakura's own chosen style.

"Oh? Is that... is that Sakura? Oh, no! I know! It's Sakura! Wait, no, that can't be right... you must be Sakura?"

He also thought he was hilarious.

"Actually I'm Sakura." Sakura said. She knew he did the same thing with nearly all of his students—the Yamanaka had several favorites when it came to names, which meant that one could always play the fun game of "which Yamanaka Arato are you referring to?" or "Was it the Yamanaka Hana who's more closely related to you or me that broke your vase?"

Of course, she happened to be the only Sakura he was teaching, and the only one that was nine years old besides, but...

"Ah, Sakura! Lovely to see you!"

Sakura bobbed in a short bow, and even before she'd finished his fist was already lashing out; Cousin Taiki only had time for humor and fighting, and he was most happy when he was doing both at once.

"Oh, come on!" He laughed. "Are you even trying?"

She jabbed forward again, but even as she did he'd already bent out of the way, grabbed her arm and hip, and corrected her form.

"I'd say that was good, but..."

Sakura had only begun with her kekkai genkai the week before, and it would be months before her particular inherited version of it—meant more to disorient than to retrieve information—would be remotely combat helpful.

The issue with this, of course, was that Yamanaka Style Eleven relied entirely on using the family technique.

She really, really wished she'd gone with Yamanaka Style Five.

Sakura huffed, rolling over as quickly as she could after Taiki knocked her over with a well-timed kick.

"I'm having fun! Are you having fun?"

As winter settled into the lands the excitement in Konohagakure grew: it was time for the Uchiha Art Festival.

They'd started the festival a mere two years after Konoha was founded, 30 years ago, and while it only lasted two days the festival was and had remained one of the most popular (and profitable) times of the year for Konoha.

Team chinmoku hadn't even had to ask for the days off—Sensei Mitokado had merely made them promise to examine the various styles of art on display.

"Hurry up!" Sakura said, wiggling unhappily next to Juro as she tried to ignore the chill from the open windows. They were at Shin's house, ignoring his screaming nephews, and waiting while their teammate scrambled through his morning to-dos.

At the Nara's kitchen table Shin's father sat, eating oatmeal and ignoring his grandchildren just as much as chinmoku were. He idly glanced at one as he crawled under the table in a bid to escape his brother and banged his head on a chair leg, but didn't bother getting up: children were resilient, after all.

"Shin!" Sakura shouted.

"I'm coming!"

One of his other nephews—he had three—scrambled on top of one of the kitchen cabinets and, leaning to the side, opened the cabinet that his grandmother stored the sweets in.

It was empty.

The nephew didn't like this, and flung himself at his grandfather, who huddled over his oatmeal protectively.

The other, middle, nephew, now eyed Sakura and Juro and, more importantly, the bento the latter was carrying.

"Shin!" Juro shouted again.

"Coming! Coming!"

"What's that?" Nephew #2 said, staring up at the now 12 year-old with interest. Sakura inched away a bit, and Juro glared at her.


"Has it got sweets in it?"


"I don't believe you."

Shin finally slammed down the stairs, pulling his shirt on as he did. "Sorry! I didn't get to sleep until a couple hours ago!" He grabbed a hardboiled egg from the table. "Yuuto! Get away from Juro! Alright, let's go!"

Chinmoku fled the house, turning down the first street to the road out of the Nara Compound and to the Uchiha one.

The festival was loud, and not just in sound. It was noisy, to be sure— musicians played for money or applause on corners, a few game tents had been set up that people were now shouting into and out of, and there was the usual hustle and bustle of people crammed much closer together than usual to contend with too.

But it was also loud in other ways.

Sakura hadn't been stupid enough to turn on her sense for the festival, but even still the level of chakra in the air was so thick that she could feel it on her skin. Part of this was the quantity of the people, but the larger reason was because of the performers who stood on the various stages: the Uchiha were true experts at fire jutsu, and their expertise had allowed them to take the typically military skill and transform it into light displays, into fireworks, into beauty.

Which was nice, but loud.

The festival was loud in its smells, too—food stalls had been stuffed anywhere they could fit, and interesting scents of sugar and bread and alcohol and meats were constantly blowing in your face from whichever wind current was the closest.

Most of all, the festival was visually loud.

"Woah." Juro said, staring up at the giant chakra construct of a fire dragon that flew over their hands. "That's... big."

"Look!" Shin pointed ahead, where an Uchiha couple were doing some mix of a dance and ninjutsu battle on a clay stage.

Personally, Sakura was drawn to the display a bit further back— an Uchiha working with a water natured ninja to trap blasts of steam into huge bubbles, which floated up and over the crowd until they popped, drenching those below in tiny little droplets of water.

Anywhere you could turn there was more to see, more to do.

Sakura grinned. "Where to first?"


Sakura had always like Surrealism. It had a certain appeal to her, given everything, and while it was far from the most popular style she could still find one or two interesting surreal paintings even when there wasn't a festival going on.

Today there was an entire room in what was usually a house dedicated to the odd style.

Shin, Sakura, and Juro stood in front of one such painting, which depicted a koi pond slowly dripping down a sharp ledge onto a sleeping raccoon dog.

"I don't get it." Shin said,

"It's interesting, isn't it?" Sakura said.

Shin and Juro glanced at each other over her head. She ignored them, and moved to the next painting, which was of a girl with the face paint of a bride riding a rock as they sped away from the army depicted in the background.

"It's... very colorful?" Juro said.

"It is."

Behind them, outside the walls of the house, a voice shouted that it was nearly time for the fire breathing competition to begin and chinmoku immediately dashed out of the building—the advertisements for the competition promised minute-long displays made up of multi-colored flames, so all three of them knew they needed a good seat.

Sakura could barely keep her eyes open. She had tried to rub away the sleep from them before she had left the house, splashed her face with cold water, even did a quick warm-up while waiting for Juro and Shin to trudge down the street, and quite some time had passed since.

She still felt as if she was half a second away from learning if she could sleepwalk.

Juro was walking in the very front, physically the strongest of their team, and Shin and Sakura walked side by side behind him.

It was three in the morning.

The past several weeks had, more or less, become routine. They had to some extent become complacent in this, used to the steady schedule of their lives, and Sensei had taken no time to catch on.

He had decided, therefore, to... motivate them.

Specifically, he'd decided it was about time to teach them about pride, and the Capital's perception of it; chinmoku's was meaningless, theirs was golden.

"Lift me higher!" The tiny seven-year-old in the litter shouted. "I want to see over the fences!"

It was three in the morning.

He could see nothing.

They lifted him higher anyway, Sakura's grip straining at the unhealthy angle she was forced to keep it at.

"You! In the front! What's your name?"

Daiki Mitokado, nephew of Sensei Mitokado, was having the birthday of his life.

"Juro, good sir." Juro said.

Chinmoku's day was going notably worse.

"I don't like that name!" Daiki said. "It's stupid!"

They hadn't even been warned in advance—they'd arrived at a quarter to midnight, as ordered, only to watch Sensei Mitokado carry a sleepy eyed Daiki all the way to their training ground.

"For your birthday," he'd told his nephew, "you get to pretend to be the worst kind of rich snobby Capital noble, and these three get to be your servants. Have fun."

"Whoever named you that was stupid!"

When the night had begun Daiki had been constantly looking towards his uncle, constantly double checking that what he was doing and saying was actually okay.

By now he didn't bother.

"Hey, I want more sweets! Get me some more sweets!"

Shin and Sakura glared at each other. Sakura, unfortunately, had fulfilled his last request (orange juice) so that meant she was forced to bear the entire back weight of the litter while Shin ran off, free for at least a little while.

"Sing me a song!"

"Which song would you like, young sir?" Juro said. Anything that might have even been an imitation of pride had left his demeanor hours ago.

"Um..." Daiki said, thinking hard.

The worst part, in Sakura's mind, was that this clearly was going to be an all-day thing. Sensei wanted to push them to the limits, wanted to force them to put up with everything, before actually telling them what they were allowed to say no to.

Even assuming the seven-year-old napped or, ideally, fell asleep early because of the early wake-up call, that was still a full day of hell.

"You pick something." Daiki decided. "I'll decide if I like it."

Shin wasn't back yet. It had only been a few seconds, but Sakura hated him already. Her shoulders strained under the weight, but at least they had almost completed the lap of the city that Daiki had requested.

Juro huffed, less because he wanted to and more because the weight was getting to him as well, then began singing a short nursery rhyme.

"No! I want a grown-up song."

Juro tried a different song, one of the older tunes that everyone knew.

"That's a grandpa song! Sing a new one, one I haven't heard before."

Sakura felt very, very sorry for Juro.

She did not speak up.

Juro tried to make up a song. He got three stanzas in before Daiki decided it was the worst of them yet. "You should take singing lessons, you're that bad!" Daiki said. Then, "where's my sweets? It's my birthday, you know, and as a noble my birthday wishes matter more than anything else!"

Sakura's seventh birthday had included a party in the evening and her favorite foods for breakfast that morning.

This felt a bit excessive.

By the afternoon chinmoku were well and truly worn out. Daiki had been a creative little snit, and every time they'd thought he'd run out of ideas they'd been proven wrong.

Thankfully, blessedly, he'd decided he was tired, so Sensei Mitokado had let them take him home so that he could have a nap before dinner.

That still left the rest of the day, unfortunately, to new kinds of torture.

"No, too low." Sensei said, jabbing Shin in the chest to jerk him up to the right height. "Ten times." Shin sighed subvocally but began practicing the ideal bow to a diplomat from Grass in the Daimyo's Court ten times as ordered.

"...Juro. Please bow to the Daimyo's fourth favorite mistress, who is wearing a green dress, in the morning, outside a shrine."

Sensei liked doing that—including facts which might or might not be relevant so that you had to parse out what actually mattered while already beginning the bow.

"No." Sensei said, grabbing Juro's head so it was more level to the ground. "You—" He turned, and Sakura did with him.

A man stood at the front of the training ground. When he knew he had been noticed, he gestured.

Sensei let go off Juro's head.

Chinmoku stood and watched, but they couldn't hear anything.

It didn't look good.

Sakura worried—what if this was the next War? It was irrational, of course—she could think of hundreds more likely ways she'd find out about the war—but the thought wouldn't go away.

Then, eying the expression of the messenger, a new thought popper into her head: what if another one of her siblings had died?

She hadn't seen Aoi in years. Akina and Arato had also not popped by any time recently, and the last time Akina had come alone, and hadn't been up for saying much besides. And her father—he hadn't been home since her fourth year.

What if—what if—what if—

Sensei nodded, then turned towards them.

Sakura's breath caught in her throat.

His expression was, as always, inscrutable, but she knew.

Her blood pounded in her ears.

Someone was dead.

Who was it?





Sensei began walking towards them.




She felt faint of breath.



Sensei stopped, then turned.

"We need to talk." He said.

"Okay." Juro responded.

Sensei put his hand on Juro's shoulder, and they walked to the side.

Shin and Sakura stared at each other.

Sensei murmured something.

Juro choked on a sob.

Zoro Akimichi had been killed.

Anonymous reviews have been disabled. Login to review. 1. Year 1 4046 0 0 2. Year 2 4832 0 0 3. Year 3 3153 0 0 4. Academy: Year 1 8667 0 0 5. Academy: Year 2 3301 0 0 6. Academy: Year 3 4507 0 0 7. Academy: Year 4, Part 1 4740 0 0 8. Academy: Year 4, Part 2 2557 0 0 9. Academy: Year 4, Part 3 2374 0 0 10. Academy: Year 5, Part 1 3897 0 0 11. Academy: Year 5, Part 2 2562 0 0 12. Academy: Year 5, Part 3 2272 0 0 13. Academy: Year 6 2675 0 0 14. Genin: Start of Genin, Part 1 2090 0 0 15. Genin: Start of Genin, Part 2 2301 0 0 16. Genin: Start of Genin, Part 3 2392 0 0 17. Genin: Start of Genin, Part 4 2463 0 0 18. Genin: The Capital, Part 1 3399 0 0 19. Genin: The Capital, Part 2 3179 0 0 20. Genin: The Capital, Part 3 2554 0 0 21. Genin, Back Home, Part 1 4717 0 0 22. Genin, Back Home, Part 2 2799 0 0 23. Genin, Back Home, Part 3 2004 0 0 24. Genin, The Long Countdown to War, Part 1 2549 0 0 25. Genin, The Long Countdown to War, Part 2 2967 0 0 26. Genin, the Long Countdown to War, Part 3 3283 0 0 27. Genin, The Long Countdown to War, Part 4 1584 0 0 28. Genin, The Long Countdown to War, Part 5 2510 0 0 29. Genin, The Long Countdown to War, Part 6 2575 0 0 30. Genin, War, Part 1 2769 0 0 31. Genin, War, Part 2 2687 0 0 32. Genin: War, Part 3 2445 0 0 33. Genin: War, Part 4 3055 0 0 34. Genin: War, Part 5 2381 0 0 35. Chunin: The Capital, Part 1 3402 0 0 36. Chunin: The Capital, Part 2 1815 0 0 37. Chunin: Back to War, Part 1 2337 0 0 38. Some Naras' Perspectives 3213 0 0 39. Chunin: Back to War, Part 2 1975 1 1 40. Chunin: Letters to Sakura 3072 0 0 41. Chunin: Letters from Sakura 3605 0 0 42. Chunin: Back to War, Part 3 4226 0 0 43. Chunin: Home, Part 1 3237 0 0 44. Chunin: Home, Part 2 2441 0 0 45. Chunin: Home, Part 3 3296 0 0 46. Chunin: Home, Part 4 2602 0 0 47. Chunin: Home, Part 5 2519 0 0 48. Chunin: Home, Part 6 2487 0 0 49. Chunin: Home, Part 7 1773 0 0 50. Chunin: Home, Part 8 2553 0 0 51. Chunin: Home, Part 9 2049 0 0 52. Chunin: Home, Part 10 2195 0 0 53. Chunin: Home, Part 11 2888 0 0 54. TJ: Home, Part 1 2977 0 0 55. TJ: Home, Part 2 3456 0 0 56. TJ: Land of Mushrooms, Part 1 2755 0 0 57. TJ: Land of Mushrooms, Part 2 3118 0 0 58. TJ: Land of Mushrooms, Part 3 3232 0 0 59. TJ: Land of Mushrooms, Part 4 3329 0 0 60. TJ: Land of Mushrooms, Part 5 3395 0 0 61. TJ: Peace, Part 1 2474 0 0 62. TJ: Peace, Part 2 3490 0 0 63. TJ: Peace, Part 3 3445 0 0 64. TJ: Peace, Part 4 4307 0 0 65. TJ: Peace, Part 5 3150 0 0 66. TJ: Peace, Part 6 3544 0 0 67. TJ: Peace, Part 7 2784 0 0 68. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 1 3421 0 0 69. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 2 2766 0 0 70. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Kumo Part 1 2909 0 0 71. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Kumo Part 2 2346 0 0 72. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Part 3 2772 0 0 73. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Part 4 3317 0 0 74. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Frost Part 1 3134 0 0 75. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa), Frost Part 2 3024 0 0 76. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 1 2643 0 0 77. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 2 2551 0 0 78. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 3 2429 0 0 79. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 4 2585 0 0 80. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 5 2803 0 0 81. TJ: War (Kumo, Iwa, Kiri), Part 6 2230 0 0 82. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 1 2867 0 0 83. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 2 2393 0 0 84. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 3 2262 0 0 85. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 4 1831 0 0 86. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 5 3005 0 0 87. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 6 2298 0 0 88. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 7 3226 0 0 89. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 8 2228 0 0 90. TJ: War (Kumo, Kiri), Part 9 2375 0 0 91. TJ: War (Kumo) Part 1 3203 0 0 92. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 2 2874 0 0 93. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 3 3271 0 0 94. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 4 2388 0 0 95. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 5 2500 0 0 96. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 6 2609 0 0 97. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 7 2472 0 0 98. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 8 2449 0 0 99. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 9 2400 0 0 100. TJ: War (Kumo), Part 10 3448 0 0 101. TJ: Peacetime, Part 1 3157 0 0 102. TJ: Peacetime, Part 2 2525 0 0 103. TJ: Peacetime, Part 3 2592 0 0 104. TJ: Peacetime, Part 4 2549 0 0 105. TJ: Peacetime, Part 5 2650 0 0 106. TJ: Peacetime, Part 6 2762 0 0 107. TJ: Peacetime, Part 7 2569 0 0 108. TJ: Peacetime, Part 8 2400 0 0 109. TJ: Peacetime, Part 9 2491 0 0 110. TJ: Peacetime, Part 10 2506 0 0 111. TJ: Peacetime, Part 11 2467 0 0 112. TJ: Peacetime, Part 12 2790 0 0 113. TJ: Peacetime, Part 13 2390 0 0 114. TJ: Peacetime, Part 14 2811 0 0 115. TJ: Peacetime, Part 15 2720 0 0 116. J: Peacetime, Part 1 1915 0 0 117. J: Peacetime, Part 2 3057 0 0 118. J: Peacetime, Part 3 1524 0 0 119. J: Peacetime, Part 4 2264 0 0 120. J: Peacetime, Part 5 1976 0 0 121. J: Peacetime, Part 6 1407 0 0 122. J: Peacetime, Part 7 1581 0 0 123. J: War, Part 1 2154 0 0 124. J: War, Part 2 1602 0 0 125. J: War, Part 3 1904 0 0 126. J: War, Part 4 2125 0 0 127. J: War, Part 5 1600 0 0 128. J: War, Part 6 1427 0 0 129. J: War, Part 7 1386 0 0 130. J: War, Part 8 1409 0 0