God, I've been watching too much Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show (or, as I like to call it for short, Naruto Abridged Abridged).

Anyway, welcome to what will be my first foray into Naruto fanfiction. As I have mentioned in my profile, Naruto fanfic is something of a guilty pleasure of mine, especially as I had grown bored of the actual manga after reading the first five volumes, up to the beginning of the Forest of Death sequence. It wasn't that I thought the manga was bad as much as it was fairly generic shounen manga material.

Now, I know all you die-hard Naruto fans will be banging on my door with pitchforks and torches for such blasphemy, but I enjoy the story enough in fanfic. Amongst my favourites include Dark Phoenix of Konoha by White Angel of Auralon, True Potential by DryBonesKing, Misstep in the Right Direction by Solvdrage, and Naruto Hatake by Agent-G.

Originally, I considered any number of stories with changes centred around Naruto, but they've been done before by better (and worse) writers than I, and I would only contribute to an immense pile of 'done so many times before' fics, so I decided to concentrate on a concept that, while it may have been done before, is certainly not as prominent.

Sakura Haruno gets a bad rap in fanfic. She's portrayed as anything from a shrill banshee who nonetheless has the potential to become a good shinobi if she stopped mooning after Sasuke, to basically a villain of momentous proportions. A quick re-read of the volumes I managed to read of the manga show that she is not quite that bad. Shrill, yes. Needs a reality check, yes. Needs to stop chasing after Sasuke, check. But I'm not convinced that she deserves, any more than Ronald Weasley (to take an example from Harry Potter of an oft-bashed character), to be demonised. In many of my Harry Potter fanfics, I try not to bash characters, but try to reconstruct them (that is, make them better in spite of their flaws). This is what I will be doing with Sakura, and then some.

Sakura will be no physical powerhouse, and she won't be perfectly suited for being a ninja from the get-go, but she will be better than canon. She'll be more intelligent, a bit too book-smart, and a bit too serious, but she's also more willing to apply her knowledge properly, like a ninja should. And she will be more observant than she is in canon. Not to mention she gives more of a crap about Naruto and Sasuke as people than she does in most fanfic. Probably not going to do the Inner Sakura thing, though.

There'll also be a mixture of fanon and canon. A lot of what you see in fanfic is fanon rather than canon, but there are many things from fanon (like mobs attacking Naruto when he was younger) that are too good to pass up. I am avoiding some fanon things, like Sakura's mother being on the civilian council, as well as the power of said council. I am also avoiding some bashing of specific characters, save for two who I think really deserve it: Sasuke and Neji. That being said, I do intend to reconstruct them, rather than just deconstruct them.

In addition, I haven't really decided on the pairings as of yet, but if I do get to that point, I'm probably not going to diverge much from canon. That could change. But they're a bit too young to have pairings per se. No slash either. I'm not into it, and I wouldn't be able to write it properly. I'll leave slash to those who want to do it.

Anyway, Disclaimer no Jutsu! (Hey, that's fun to do) Firstly, like with all of my other works, I will be annotating this story quite heavily. You don't like? You don't read.

Secondly, bashing will be kept, where it is done, to a minimum. Again, if you don't like, you don't read.

Thirdly, I am not going to slavishly use Japanese honorifics, except on occasion. I will use 'sensei' and sometimes 'sama'. For the most part, names will be in the European style (first name, and then surname), with, for example, Rock Lee being an exception. I am also using a mixture of the Japanese names of the jutsus, and some English names.

Fourthly, this fic is an experimental fanfic. My lack of interest in Naruto per se means that this fic may be infrequently updated.

Finally, the following is a fan-written story. Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and any others I fail to mention. Please, support the official release. Otherwise, I will make sure Guy and Lee inflict the Sunset Genjutsu of Youth on you.