Learning to Love
By: yume-chan

Standard Disclaimers Apply.

Author's notes- Entry One:

I had written this FF in honor of my favorite female of Naruto, Haruno Sakura, as well as, for my younger sister, to whom I owe the thanks for giving me the basic idea of a love…er…square, between the protagonists of my story. The rounds of romance will be as follows: Sakura x Sasuke x Sakura x Neji x Sakura x Gaara. Though two of the pairings are non-canon, I myself have fallen in love with the idea and have gone ahead with creating this fiction. Alternative pairings rock!

Don't like, don't read! Love, secrets, fluff, angst, jealousy, and tragedy ahoy!

Chapter 1: War

"So it's true then." Tsunade curled her fingers in a business-like manner where they rested folded neatly on her lap. She casually crossed her legs. The task at hand was a serious one and needed to be handled as delicately as possible, in need of her utmost attention.

"The Sound has been planning for another war with Konoha."

"Yes Tsunade-sama. It has not been proclaimed official, but the information we have gathered is indeed reliable. We have reason for caution." The captain of The Leaf's ANBU squad delivered the message solemnly, waiting with a warrior's patience for the Hokage's opinion and, more importantly, plan of action.

A tired sigh was followed closely by the silence of the night as Tsunade thought quickly for a basic design to Konoha's retaliation. She rubbed her temples.

Finally she said, "For now, since the declaration of war has yet to be made official, continue training your ANBU, at a slightly faster pace maybe. Design your army so that you have at least two groups that can work independently." She tapped the edge of her forefinger to her chin, in thought. "And assign a medic-nin for every three teams when constructing your army. You handle the details. I'll take charge of the defense as well as well as the town in itself."

A faintly shocked look came upon the young man's features at Tsunade's mention of medic-nins. 1 medical ninja per every 3 cells? Impossible. There weren't that many medic-nins in action currently. "But Tsunade-sama, we don't have that many medic-nins available assigned off-field, much less on duty…" he started.

At this, the female ninja let out an exasperated breath. That's right…these days, not many shinobi enlist to practice medical jutsus. Though nearly all ninja know a few basic healing techniques, not many know how to deal with more serious wounds, which are extremely probable to occur during battle. Most of the people who worked at The Hidden Leaf's local hospital were civilians and volunteers. In fact, Tsunade probably knew only a handful of medical shinobi and kunoichi personally…

Kunoichi…medic-nin?

That's it!

"I know someone who can help with your medic-nin dilemma. Not only that, but this kunoichi can also greatly affect the outcome of this future war." The 5th grinned, swelling in pride that she had even remembered. She had known this information would have come in handy someday.

The ANBU leader, in contrast, looked doubtful, "A kunoichi, Tsunade-sama? How can a single female ninja change the outcome of an all-out war with the Hidden Sound?" (A/N: Thanks for the lookout BaBy KaKaShI! XD ...missed that tidbit!)

"This kunoichi is no ordinary one," She explained pretty confidently, "She had graduated with top test scores while at the academy. She has had personal experience training with the self-proclaimed future Hokage, Uzumaki Naruto AND the prodigy Uchiha Sasuke. She is an aspiring medic-nin not to mention, is my current apprentice…"

"But Tsunade-sama," the ANBU quietly interrupted, "You're present apprentice, by my knowledge, is only a chuunin-leveled ninja. How can she…?"

The 5th Hokage smiled wryly, "Did I mention that she has a bloodline limit ability?"

Shock was painted clearly onto the young ANBU's face. A bloodline limit ability…for healing? "I-I have never heard of such a gift."

The grin still fixed upon her features she clarified, "Yes well, when I took the girl under my wing, so to speak, I had, of course, to look into her family history. The ability had been dated long, long ago back to her great, great, GREAT grandfather. It hadn't shown up in future generations when most of her family had entered the business world. Apparently, she too has yet to awaken her ability. I believe she has to reach a certain level of skill before said awakening can occur."

The ANBU, though still a bit skeptical, believed more, "What, may I ask, Tsunade-sama, does her bloodline limit ability do exactly?"

"Well," Tsunade answered, "from what I know, her ability gives her the power to heal a mass of people, repairing their most serious injuries and rejuvenating their overall health, all in one go."

The squad leader's eyes widened a bit, "A mass of people…in one go?"

The female blonde nodded, "Yes. So obviously, that ability would prove extremely useful to Konoha's medical team."

The ANBU leader nodded in return as well. The Hokage was right. An advantage like that could surely help win them the victory. "Is there anything you want me to do to help with the kunoichi's progress?"

"Yes," The 5th replied thoughtfully, "actually you can." She looked him straight in the eye, "As I had mentioned before, my protégé needs to reach a certain skill level in order to activate her ability." The ANBU shook his head in agreement. "So, do you have any ANBU or jounin on your teams who don't need much practice themselves? Instead, they could train our secret weapon."

The captain quickly brought out a list of names on a clipboard. The ANBU.

Tsunade noted," We need her good as soon as possible so give me the best you've got, but who's absences won't hinder the army as a whole. 3 trainers would be good enough, I believe. That way, they can take different shifts. And would it be possible to assign people about her own age? I think it would be easier on her considering the responsibility she must carry for Konoha when she finds out."

The ANBU merely nodded with every of the Hokage's suggestions flipping through the pages of his ANBU squad files. In seconds, he had found the perfect trainers.

"Uchiha Sasuke; Age 16. 6'1". 154 lbs. Heir to the Uchiha clan. Remaining family: Uchiha Itachi (elder brother): MN; Akatsuki Org. Had once been labeled MN himself. Konoha ANBU, 3-man cell leader."

"Hyuuga Neji; Age 17. 6' 2". 162 lbs. Heir to the Hyuuga clan. Remaining family: Hyuuga Hiashi (uncle); Hyuuga Hinata (cousin); Part of the Branch Family. Konoha ANBU, 3-man cell leader."

"Gaara. Age 16. 6'. 150 lbs. Chosen heir to Sand (ally) Kazekage. Remaining family: Temari (elder sister), Kankuro (elder brother). Sand resident. Had once attacked Konoha during chuunin exam. Sand ANBU, 3-man cell leader."

The Hokage looked mildly amused at the turnout. "Very well. Those boys shall be training our special kunoichi. The shifts will be decided once the messages are delivered to said shinobi. Training our medical protégé shall be considered an A-rank mission due to the confidentiality of the information. No rejection is accepted. No exceptions. If you have trouble convincing the Sand boy, tell the Kazekage my orders. As our ally, I'm sure he'll come to reason with him."

"Hai." Understanding his orders, Konoha's ANBU captain left the room in silence.

Once the door shut, the blonde Hokage stood from her chair, going out onto her balcony. She took a breath of fresh air looking down upon her peaceful city illuminated by moonlight: civilians, buildings, and nature, undisturbed by a future of mayhem. Amidst the crowd would be a young, pink-haired kunoichi, who the Hokage was about to rely on heavily for the sake of Konoha.

Before turning back to her chambers, she whispered into the darkness of the night sky, "I'm sure you can do it, Haruno Sakura."

End chapter 1

A/N: I apologize for any mispelling, OOC-ness, or wrong information you may have had the displeasure of coming across. Forgive me!

Review! Flames are not appreciated. Be gentle, onegai!