Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.

Sorry for not updating, my computer screws up the format on my stories. I'm using a school one at the moment.

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Sakura, when she woke up the next morning, wondered vaguely why she was at her training place. But the memories of the previous evening flooded back into her mind. Her mother's pleas, her fathers cries of rage and then agony. Sakura lowered her head in shame at her actions.
"But it is too late now," she said suddenly, lifting her head back up to the morning sunlight. The tears that had threatened to drip from her eyes seemed to disintegrate back into her skull. "I gave up my family for this, so I shouldn't go back! What was done is done, and I can't go back now," she said confidently, standing up and ignoring the hunger pains in her stomach. She lifted up her training tools and started her training, ignoring the dark clouds that slowly rolled across the sun.

* * * * * *

Sakura sat down on the ground heavily, huffing and puffing in exhaustion from her intensified training. It was amazing to her how much she had improved, but still- it was not enough.

But suddenly, that eerie cold feeling came back, chilling Sakura to the core. She stood up and looked around.

"Sakura-chan," a familiar voice called from the shadows, engulfing Sakura in the echoing sound. Today, though, something was different- the person behind the voice seemed childish, amused, and sneaky.

"Yes, I'm here!" Sakura said excitedly, forgetting about her previous hunger pains.

"Today is a very special day, Sakura-chan. Do you know why?" the voice called out to the blossom-haired kunoichi.

"Do I get to see Sasuke-kun? Do I get to see you?" Sakura asked excitedly, her eyes lighting up for the first time in a day. The voice chuckled coldly.

"You do not get to see Sasuke-kun today, Sakura-chan, but you can see me if you like." Sakura gasped and clapped her hands together.

"Yes! I want to see you! Show yourself to me!" Sakura replied, forcing herself to calm down.

"Now, now, Sakura-chan. I need you to promise me something first," the voice said calmly.

"Anything!" Sakura replied hastily, not stopping to think about the consequences.

"Once you see me, Sakura-chan, you can never go back on your word- do you promise that, once you see me, you will do exactly as I say?" The voice had a definite evil in its tone, Sakura noticed, but she ignored it- anyone could make themselves sound threatening.

"I promise you, on my love for Sasuke-kun and this scar on my chest, that I will do anything you ask me to," Sakura said solemnly, placing one hand defensively over the sore, deep gash on her chest.

"Excellent, Sakura-chan. Now, go on with your speed training, and you will see me very soon."

* * * * * *

The few jounins left in the village were on an A-rank mission within the town- find the source of the strange, dark chakra that permeated through the air. About two were currently on duty searching for it, and they suddenly felt it. As dark clouds rolled over the village, a dark aura emanated from the Hokage monument. The two nodded and dashed off in that direction.

* * * * * *

Sakura threw her kunai deep into the woods, and quickly raced after it, hoping to catch it. Over bramble, root, and vine she dashed; dodging trees and other obstacles in her path.

"I know it was over here, I know it is," she muttered as she practically flew through the forest. "A ha!" she cried, spotting a clearing where a little glint of metal was visible. Sakura ran towards it, but stopped suddenly as a figure emerged from seemingly nowhere and picked up the kunai, swinging it loftily in his fingers.

"Are you looking for this?" he asked sinisterly, hie snake-like features curling up in a cruel smile.

"You! You are Orochimaru! Hokage-sama told me about you!" Sakura cried out in shock. "You can't be the one I am looking for!"

"But, Sakura-chan," hissed the lord of the Sound Village, suddenly standing right behind her and whispering in her ear, "You promised." That same cold feeling washed over Sakura, dizzying her to the point of falling. She would've, anyway, had Orochimaru's strong, lithe arms not snaked around her waist and held her to him.

"Let me go!" Sakura cried, her strength ebbing as the cold threatened to consume her. But her world was engulfed in black as a snake-like tongue gently tickled her cheek.