Chapter 1

Disclaimer:  I don't own Naruto, or any of its characters.  If I did, I would be one rich fellow, and probably wouldn't be wasting my time writing a fan fiction about something I already owned. 

The cold wind and deafening rain howled through the lifeless house filled with the stench of blood.  Two bodies lay on the ground, cold, unmoving.  A demonic silhouette hung above the corpses, getting closer, closer, closer…

"Noooooooo!" screamed Sasuke as he sprung up from his bed. He had been having nightmares ever since his the slaying of his entire clan, and the gloomy weather outside had only fueled the realism of this dream. The same dream he had been having since that night.

            "These damned dreams," he thought as he rose out of his bed to get ready for another day of preparation.  To him, every day was preparation.  Not preparation to become a Chuunin, not preparation to become a Jounin.  The thing that dominated his thoughts was killing the slayer of his clan.  His brother, Uchiha Itachi.  However, some different objectives had popped into his vengeful mind. They were Haruno Sakura and Uzumaki Naruto, and even though they were very far less on his priority list, he still didn't like to admit it. 

            Thinking of his horrific past, Sasuke left his abode to meet with his team.

            "Good morning Sasuke," spoke Sakura in an ever-so-cheerful voice. She had known of him since her early childhood, but only started to get to know him when they were placed on a team together.  Nevertheless, her feelings for him had never faltered.  He was still the one who gave her the most joy to think about, and he was still the one who gave her the most heartbreak when he ignored her.

            "He has started to soften up to me a bit more," she thought to herself.  "Pretty soon he will say yes to take me on a date, and then we can become boyfriend and girlfriend!"  Sakura's romantic daydreams would never fail, and Sasuke even letting her a bit closer didn't help matters at all.

            "Hey," was all that Sasuke could manage to utter.  He was far too busy concentrating on his inner-demons to acknowledge her further, and her comments jumped him out of his thoughts and on to new ones. 

            "All he ever gives are one-word replies to me," thought the girl with the bright pink hair. "I suppose it's better than nothing though." Even after her daydreams he would let her down.  She had thought that after opening up more to her as he had done he would start to show some enthusiasm when talking to her.  "On the other hand, he used to not talk at all, so it was an improvement," she supposed with a sense of sadness.

            On the inside Sasuke knew he hurt her more than anyone else.  He ignored her…he didn't provide her with simple company, even after she and Naruto had saved him from his own loneliness.  They were the only people he had considered friends, although he never let them or anyone else know it.  "It will be hard enough for me to face my brother as it is, I can't let anyone, even them, distract me from my goals," was what he kept telling himself every day as vindication for the lack of affection he showed them.

            Meanwhile, Naruto felt distraught.  Even after he risked his life for her against Gaara, she still paid him no attention.  She hadn't even bothered to greet him.  Usually he wouldn't have cared about such things, and would just push his own greeting onto her.  But today was different. He thought after doing such things for her she would at least acknowledge him.  "She ha….."

            His thoughts were stopped abruptly by two words that came from so close, yet they seemed like an eternity away.

            "Hi Naruto," was all Sakura needed to say, and Naruto was back to his old self again.

            "Good morning Sakura!" he said in a very Naruto-esque manner. "At this rate, I will become Hokage and get a date with Sakura," he excitedly contemplated, but only for a very short time.  Being Naruto, his mind ventured off onto things such as whether or not becoming Hokage gives a lifetime supply of ramen.

            After two hours of Sakura swooning over Sasuke, Naruto swooning over Sakura, and Sasuke thinking about the murder of his clan, their teacher, Kakashi, decided to grace them with his presence.

            "You're late Kakashi-sensei!" exclaimed the duo of Sakura and Naruto.  Not that they had actually expected him to be on time, but they sort of enjoyed his cockamamie excuses.

            "Good morning, guys.  Sorry for being late, but the Sun came up 3 minutes late today so I took it as a bad omen and slept in." Kakashi was a very superstitious person it seemed.

            "Due to the recent disruption that occurred in the village, we haven't had very many clients lined up.  Therefore, we don't have a mission to accomplish today, and we probably won't have one for a while.  That's why all the Jounin teachers got together and came up with another survival training exercise.  This time, however, you will be in a competition with 2 other groups.  The two teams you will be up against are…team 8 and team 10.  Anyway, the main purpose of this exercise will be to collect as many flags from the other teams as possible.  They will be trying to collect yours as well, of course," the teacher informed them.

            "So it's like an Easter egg hunt?  I love those!" stated Naruto.  Naruto never did have a keen eye for the obvious.

            "Well not exactly," explained Kakashi. "Not only will you be trying to collect their flags, but you will also have to defend yours as well.  Therefore, you will have to act as a team to go on the offensive or defensive depending on the situation."

            "I knew that from the beginning. Hell yea!" Sakura's inner self shouted on the inside.

            "Well, we will be doing this training in the area known as the Underground Caverns. The light there is very minimal so you will have to rely on your other senses much more than usual, hence the name.  Also, you will have to be in there for 5 straight days, alone with your group," Kakashi continued.

            "Hey, hey.  I'm already a really strong ninja, I don't need to be doing a stupid game like this," Naruto stated.  Naruto always had a complaint about training exercises that he thought lowered his self-worth.

            Sasuke took note of this and silently agreed with it.  He failed to see how such a childish drill would ever give him enough power to defeat his brother.  The last time he had seen his brother, he was beaten down disgracefully.  He needed real training, not something a new trainee would do.

            "Oh, I forgot to mention.  These caverns are where they held the Chuunin exam a few years ago.  No one has ever been to the end of them.  Ever.  Plus, the winner gets a free all you can eat ramen dinner," Kakashi notified as nonchalantly as possible, while turning his head to the top left.

            "Lets do it!" exclaimed Naruto.  He was not one to pass up a challenge, and he was definitely not one to pass up a chance at free ramen.

            Sasuke just confidently smirked as he always did when a challenge presented itself.  He knew that it wasn't enough training to defeat Itachi, but this exercise definitely wouldn't be a pushover either. He would partake in this exercise, and he would get past it without problems. 

            Sakura, meanwhile, was only thinking about what it would be like to spend 5 days in a cold, damp cavern with Sasuke.  She made it a point to make sure she wouldn't be a burden to Sasuke and Naruto, but that didn't mean she still couldn't enjoy being with Sasuke!  Hell, she didn't even mind the fact that Naruto would be there.  In fact, she had started to grow fond of his goofy self.

            "Well guys, the training will start tomorrow at 8.  I won't see you until after it is over, but you will have this," he revealed as he handed Sasuke a sleek, small 2-way radio.  "This is just in case you guys get lost or are in dire need of assistance.  I will have mine on at all times, and will contact you once a day to make sure you are alright. Well, I'll see you guys tomorrow," he finished with a smile.  Even with his mask, all three of the young ninjas could tell that he was showing them affection.  With that, everyone ventured home, preparing for the new exercise. 

Well this is my first fanfic ever…and I'm telling you now that it is not yaoi, but I haven't really figured out what is gonna happen yet hehe…I kinda write on the spur of the moment all the time without thinking about it soo…Anyways, a review or two would be greatly appreciated, and I'm in the  progress of typing chapter two…well…not really but I already have it written I just need to type it, so I'll get around to that sometime soon.