The kunoichi softly hissed in pain as the needle dragged along the smooth skin of her shoulder, guided by the gentle hand of a dark haired man. The dark trail following the needle formed a black swirl of which only the most elite shinobi of Konohagure were scarred with.


She eyed her newly dyed tresses thoughtfully as the last touches to the mark were made. The dark inky color was quite different from her normal color, but it was an intriguing kind of different... One she liked. It made her feel more ninja-like, and now she wouldn't have to tie one of those damned scarves around her head in order to keep it from revealing her cover while she was on missions.

The tattooist placed an ice pack on her shoulder, and the icy cold spread throughout her skin. She thanked him and stood; grabbing the duffel bag full of newly issued gear which had been sitting at her feet.

A sense of pride washed over her as she stepped through the door of the building, leading her to the cool night air.

She hadn't told a single soul she was trying for ANBU, with the exception of Tsunade, and she preferred to keep it under wraps for now.

Darkness swallowed her as she darted home quickly, using the last bits of the chakra she had left from her test, so no one would recognize her.

Other than a few other scratches, and a deep cut across her abdomen, she was not seriously injured. She'd done pretty well for herself. The trials she had been put through last night caused her hair to curl as she thought of them, but it had all been worth it. She had made it to her very own goal, and it had only taken her twenty-three years.

She yawned as she shuffled into the kitchen. She was thankful that her overly long sweatpants protected her bare feet from the cold linoleum of the floor. She sighed to herself as she saw that her refrigerator was bare with the exception of a carton of milk and some old lunch meat.

Reaching into the refrigerator, she brought the carton of milk to her nose, and scrunched up her nose as the scent reached her nostrils.

Maybe she'd eat out... she hadn't had Ichiraku's for a while... Hopefully Naruto wouldn't be there.

A knock startled her out of the reverie that the thought of ramen had produced.

She shuffled over to the door, pulling the sleeves of her T-shirt over her tattoo as she stepped across the floor. But when she opened it, no one was there. Confusedly, she looked to her feet to see an envelope laying there. Whoever it was, had tried to shove it beneath her door, successfully. She had just failed to notice it laying on the carpet.

She shut the door and began ripping it open as she made her way to her bedroom. She scanned it quickly and A few sentences stood out.

"You have been assigned to ANBU mission # 67778234. Be in full uniform at the headquarters by 10:05 P.M. tonight," and then, scrawled in Tsunade's own hand... "You, and your two teammates will keep your identities hidden from each other. I've placed you on a team with two more experienced ANBU, since this is your first mission. Sorry to throw this on you so soon, but you're an ANBU now, so deal with it."

Sighing, she swept her hair back into a ponytail and searched out her clothing. Why would Tsunade assign her a mission the very next day after her exam?

Slipping into a pair of jeans, and a shirt with three quarter length sleeves, she began to think to herself.

Maybe she was just being selfish, wanting to keep her own identity hidden.


After all, it could keep her and her teammates from working together properly, and that could throw off the mission's success rate.

She just pushed aside that thought and slid her feet into her lime green flip flops. As she stepped out into the Konoha afternoon, a breeze passed by her, raising goosebumps on her arms.

She shuffled down the dirt road to the familiar ramen restaurant that was about two miles away.

"Sakura-chan!" A robust shinobi ran to her, a grin plastered across his face.

That was just her luck. She had specifically asked fate not to bring them together, and yet... fate chose him specifically to bother her... She sighed, closing her eyes and counting backwards from ten in order to steady her nerves, which were already in bad shape from his voice. It wasn't as if she hated him or anything, he was just annoying sometimes, and today she wanted to relax. At least until her mission.

He would be asking questions.

"Sakura-chan? What did you DO to your beautiful hair?" He asked, his cerculine eyes wide with shock." From pink to black?"

Ten wouldn't even be remotely close to enough.

"I wanted a change." She said, her eye twitching.

"Why?" He asked oblivious, taking a handful of it and eyeing it. He'd always loved her hair. It was one of a kind, or at least the only one he'd ever seen. He'd been on the verge of tears back when she'd chopped off a few good inches at the chuunin exams. But now... It wasn't even pink anymore. This was going to be hard to accept.

She gritted her teeth as he began following her into town, matching her pace step-by-step. "Are you EVER gonna let it go pink again?"

One-hundred... ninety-nine... ninety-eight...

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