Sakura Haruno never wanted to become a shinobi.

Growing up knowing that she had to attend the academy regardless of her desires never sat well with her. The Village Hidden in the Leaves, as well as the other major villages, had a clause written into their constitution that required all immigrants to enter their first born child into the shinobi academy.

Unfortunately Sakura was the first born of her parent's three children. She also happened to be the smallest.

Fortunately, Sakura had a plan. Attend the academy, graduate at the latest age possible and attain a desk job for the required eight years. At five, the plan seemed like a good idea, but like most plans there was a change.

At the age of four, Sakura and her two younger siblings were caught in the cross fire between Konoha Military Police and a foreign shinobi. The foreign shinobi held her younger sister hostage in an attempt to escape the police, using the one year old as shield to deter any sudden movements.

The helplessness that Sakura felt that day changed her mind of coasting through the academy.

Sakura entered the civilian academy the fall of the year that she turned 5. The class that she was placed in was filled with other civilian children whose parents were immigrants to Konoha, therefore their admission into the academy was mandatory.

Sakura worked harder during the first two months of the academy year than she ever had before. Every day she came home tired and ready to collapse. One day, a mysterious man came to their class to observe their practices. Even though she was only six, Sakura wasn't stupid. Rumors from the previous grades always foretold of a man with a cane visiting a class, only for students to go missing that same day. When parents asked after their missing children, they were always told that the child was put into a special advanced program.

So the moment Sakura saw the man she regressed in skills. She was always told that her chakra control was amazing for a child her age and that her taijutsu skills were slightly above average for her age and build. But for that day she pretended like she knew next to nothing about taijutsu and her control over her chakra was normal.

The presence that the man exuded was downright frightening. The two masked shinobi that followed after him walked with military precision and synchronization. It felt unnatural. The man paid particularly close attention to one of the boys in the class who was ranked the highest in the class. During their taijutsu matches, Sakura fumbled and tripped to the bemusement of their sensei, while the boy, Daisuke, threw a text book perfect right hook followed by a high kick to his opponent. Daisuke was always treated better than the other students because of his ability to manipulate ink. Sakura knew the boy wasn't going to be in class tomorrow.

Later that day after getting home from the academy Sakura was proven right. The same day every year (the second Monday of every November), the parents of the civilian academy student's waited anxiously outside of the school for their children to be dismissed. Sometimes, students were delayed at the school and got home later than usual. However, that wasn't the fate of Daisuke and several other students that attended the academy. Sakura watched as Daisuke's mother, a pretty brunette from down the street, broke down in tears when Daisuke didn't come home. In his place was a letter explaining his acceptance into an accelerated program, delivered by one of the masked shinobi from before.

That night Sakura's parents held her tightly in a hug that felt suffocating. She knew she did the right thing.

Sakura was nervous. Today her class found out which class that they would be placed into for their last three years in the academy. Last week the civilian academy held its annual final exams to test the skill level of each student to determine whether they would stay in the civilian academy or move on to the ninja academy wherein they would be in the lineup to become genin.

Months before the exams, Sakura trained as hard as she could to ensure that she would be placed into the ninja academy. Even though not everyone in the ninja academy went on to become certified shinobi, it was still a better bet than being placed into the civilian academy where the destiny of the students was to become military cannon fodder.

As a student in the ninja academy, Sakura had a better bet at learning the skills necessary to protect her family.

The crowd of students surrounding the bulletin board located outside that displayed the fate of each student was dense with eager nine year olds trying to find out what class they would be put in for the next school year.

Sakura waited impatiently in the back of the crowd, waiting for the other children to thin out before stepping forward to find out her fate. A grin broke across her face as she found her name listed on the list for the ninja academy. Her hard work paid off! She was going to become a ninja!

Over the next two months of her school break, Sakura read up on as much material as she could find to prepare herself for the academy. According to the civilians who were in a grade above her, the first several weeks of ninja academy was going over the history of Konoha, the history of the Elemental Nations and basic geography. Sakura was not going to leave anything out. She was going to study everything.

On the first day of class, Sakura smoothed down the front of her red skirt and took in a deep breath to prepare herself. Exhaling, she held her head up high and pushed her shoulders back to make herself appear confident. Sakura took a step forward and opened the door. Her first impression of her new classmates for the next three years was dread. From what she could see from her vantage point in the doorway the majority of her new classmates were clan children and that meant that she had to work even harder than before to become stronger.