Surrounded by acres and acres of trees, Konoha’s air was always fresh and clean. In winter, the fresh air was sharp and biting against one’s cheeks and ears.
There was something unsettling about snow. The world was blanketed with white making the streets quieter and the world seem larger. The relatively calm setting was always in contrast to what usually occurred for Sasuke Uchiha when everything was covered in snow.
But there would be no fighting, no attacks, today. He was home, able to enjoy time with his family for a change.
“Come on, Papa! Let’s go.” Sarada jumped from the bottom step of their apartment building, landing her small feet perfectly into the footprints he had left when he had descended down the stairs earlier. Sakura followed close behind, smiling fondly at their daughter’s antics.
Although the temperature could drop to below freezing, Konoha’s winters never guaranteed snow. This would be the first snow Sarada would be able to enjoy with both of her parents since she was a toddler and she was going to make the most of it. She doubted she could ever convince her father to build snowmen or snow angels but she would settle for just a stroll through the snow covered streets.
Sasuke’s strides were much longer but Sakura easily walked in tandem like she always had when they reached adulthood, no longer struggling to walk side by side and flitting nervously in his peripheral.
On his right side was Sarada, hand twitching like she wanted to take hold of his. He bit back a smile and waited to see what she would do. His daughter occasionally acted aloof in his presence but there were still moments where her desire to be spoiled and receive affection cracked that blasé exterior.
He secretly hoped this continued on even when she became a teenager. He missed out on a lot from when she was younger and wasn’t ready for any possible rebellious teenage years.
Sasuke’s brows pulled forward in confusion as he noticed Sarada looking down at the ground. Her gait was awkward as she took occasional hopping steps forward.
After a beat he realized that Sarada was making sure her footprints were right alongside his. Because her legs were a lot shorter she would fumble every now and then. Slowing down a bit, he silently assisted her in her attempts to match steps with him.
Sasuke smiled softly remembering a different twelve year old girl that wore red that use to do the same thing. He may have found it irritating back then but now it was charming all of the ways Sarada reminded him of Sakura. Even the way she beamed up at him reminded him of her mother.
“So why didn’t you go hang out with your friends again?” Sakura teased, knowing full well Sarada’s reason for ditching her friends today.
“I just didn’t feel like it.” Sarada clasped her hands behind her back and turned her face up to the gray sky, blinking at it’s brightness. She hummed contently, a sweet smile on her face. Sarada caught Sasuke’s eye and turned away.
Chuckling at her caused Sarada to elbow him slightly which only made him smile more. He was caught off guard when a small gloved hand slid into his own. Looking down he saw Sarada staring straight ahead feigning nonchalance. The tips of her ears were bright red, a trait she had gotten from him that gave away any embarrassment.
The last time he held her hand like this as they walked through the snow laden streets, she was two and stuffed into a puffed up jacket. Sakura had crammed a hat on her head and a scarf around her lower face so by the time they pulled her hood over her head the only visible part of her face were eyes. Her wadle was so bad that it was just safer to carry her.
“This is our first snow together,” Sarada chirped.
“No it isn’t.” Sarada’s smile dropped from her face and she just gaped at her father.
“What are you talking about?”
“We did the exact same thing we’re doing now when you were a toddler,” Sakura explained. She was biting her lower lip to hold back her laughter. Her child was so cute when she was baffled.
“Well, I don’t remember that!’
“And technically that wasn’t the first time either.” Sasuke took the opportunity to mess with their child. “We were in the Land of Snow when your mother was twenty-four weeks along.”
“That definitely doesn’t count!” Sarada huffed. Sakura couldn’t take it anymore and burst out laughing. Sarada pouted and crossed her arms in front of her chest.
“She looks just like you when she does that,” Sakura pointed out to Sasuke. Sasuke frowned at her. He most definitely did not pout.
“I don’t do that.”
“You’re doing it right now.”
“No I’m not.”
“Yes you are. Your mouths even turn down the exact same way.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“Are you mocking me?”
Sakura never got to retort back. Something had hit Sasuke square in the back and he turned around to find Sarada holding a snowball.
“Aren’t you guys too old to be flirting?” Sarada made a playful gagging gesture.
Sasuke bent down and scooped a handful of snow.
“You’re not going to throw that back at your daughter are you?” Sakura asked him, raising an eyebrow at him.
And he smashed it over her head.
Sarada giggled, clutching her sides. Her mother’s mouth had dropped open in astonishment, snow falling all over her face as she moved.
“Oh, you think that’s funny huh?”
Sakura bent down to scoop snow into a ball and Sarada squealed before taking off. Sakura took off after her, firing snowballs as she chased her.
The peaceful setting was disturbed but Sasuke definitely preferred these kinds of attacks.
It was good to be home.