First story ever. No wait don't leave! I'm not that horrible I promise! Just suffer for a few paragraphs, then you can quit.

Chapter 1: Exposition

All around her, young and old shinobi moved in a crowd, rushing for the solitary door and milling around the room. Making a pass for freedom, trying to be the first to escape the small, plain room. But she didn't notice them, although many were talking and shouting to each other from across the room. The pink-haired girl's head rested on her crossed arms on the desk and her breathing was deep and even.

In other words, she was asleep.

"Sakura-chan!" Hinata's quiet voice carried poorly over the noise. She made her way closer. In the five years since Tsunade became Hokage, Hinata had changed somewhat. She had grown out the hair that had been the cause of so much cruel teasing, so that it was more unruly and a little past chin-length, framing her face in dark purple strands. She had changed her pale sweater and dark pants to a t-shirt and jeans. Her child's body had changed into that of a young woman rival to Tsunade, but she was so quiet that no one noticed her attraction, and she took care to be as unalluring as possible.

Sakura didn't wake up. She twitched, but went right back to her dreams. She, too had changed; the short pink hair had grown to her waist, and her red dress was exchanged for a black one with dark purple shorts. Her figure hadn't changed much, except for a smaller waist and almost unnoticeable chest development. The most noticeable change was her eyes—no longer pale, jade green, they had darkened over the years to a deep emerald that sparkled like water and flashed dangerously when she was angry.

Hinata sighed. Sakura had been acting so odd lately; she seemed tired all the time, and she never seemed quite so cheerful. "Sakura-chan, get up," she said softly, touching her friend's shoulder.

Sakura's head snapped up and she looked around wide-eyed. "Huh? Oh! Hi, Hinata-chan!"

"Sakura-chan, class was out several minutes ago," murmured Hinata. "Didn't you sleep well last night?"

Sakura smiled brightly, a wide cheerful expression, and laughed. "I stayed up too late studying scrolls," she said sheepishly. "I found a really interesting jutsu—I can show it to you some time, next time we train together."

Hinata frowned. "Sakura-chan, we are training together today. Just like we do every other day. Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," the pink-haired girl said dismissively, waving a pale hand. "I'll see you at your house in a few minutes, okay Hinata-chan?."

"Are you sure you want to? You seem tired," said Hinata, determined not to inconvenience her friend. She clasped her hands in front of her.

"Of course!" said Sakura. "How will we become jounin if we never train? Come on, let's go."

"Neji-nii-san is home today," said Hinata. "I know you two didn't get along last time you met. Do you want to train at your house instead?" Her fingers started poking together.

"NO!" exclaimed Sakura, caught off-guard. At Hinata's startled jump, she said more calmly "I mean, uh…no, your house is better, Hinata-chan. You have actual training grounds." Sakura flipped her long hair, distracting Hinata by almost hitting her in the face with the waist-length tresses. "Sorry," she said.

"It's okay," said Hinata, spitting out a bit of hair that had stayed in her mouth. "Here, you can have this back." She stuck it to Sakura's nose, who squawked and batted it away. Laughing, she chased a shyly giggling Hinata out of the classroom and out of the school grounds.

Once off school grounds, they slowed down. They walked together toward the Hyuuga mansion, saying hello to several people they passed.

Naruto was arguing and shouting loudly at Sasuke, who poked him to egg him on but didn't actually reply.

"Bully," grumbled Hinata. "I know you used to like him, Sakura-chan, but I hate how he provokes Naruto-kun like that."

"Don't worry so do I," whispered Sakura. "But I figured out how to get him to stop."

"How?" giggled Hinata gleefully, looking slightly predatorial.

Sakura smirked. "Watch this." She stopped and held out her hands. Signing quickly, she muttered something too low for Hinata to hear.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then all hell broke loose.

That's a shorter chapter than I wanted…darn. Oh well. It has a plot, I promise! And it does get more interesting. I have to set things up before I can twist and mess with them like no tomorr—I mean, uh that is…create an interesting plot -evil cackle-
Sorry for the shortness, but the people in white coats are coming to take me to play with them in their padded rooms! Have to go!

Any suggestions/comments/willingness to beta are greatly appreciated. I have no access to any episodes, manga or otherwise, past where Sakura decides to enter the Chuunin exams. Therefore I have no way of knowing if a lot of these people are in character.