Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Author's Note: Yep, so I'm re-writing this. Why? Because I feel that I didn't write this story well. It has quite a good plot in my opinion, but most of the chapters seem really rushed and all. Although, there are a few chapters that I like and I won't be doing much editing with those ;)

Sorry to the people who already read all 8 chapters. I'll try to finish re-writing this by the end of my summer break which is June. I won't be able to update as often as some other authors though so I'm really sorry for that. Please remember that I have other stories - Love or Chaos? and Race of Romance to update.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy reading and please review. Comments/constructive criticisms/suggestions are very much appreciated ;)

Where I Belong

"Why are we staying here again, mother?" a 10 year old girl asked. They were currently in Sound, unpacking their things…they would be living there from now on, after all. Her mother looked at her sadly. "It's just that we feel that it's better to live here, honey." She replied, kissing her daughter on the forehead.

Sakura looked at her mother and father sadly. She knew the real reason why…she heard them talking about it last night.

"Itachi? Killing the whole army? His own army for that matter?! That's impossible!" she heard her mother say. Her father sighed. "That's what I heard." He replied. "But he's supposed take over the throne once King Fugaku is gone!" she said, shakily.

Sakura couldn't see the expressions on their faces because she was hiding under her blanket, pretending to be asleep. She was grateful that they were here in Sound at the moment…after all, her father is, or rather was part of the Uchiha Kingdom's army.

So that was why they stayed in Sound…Sakura thought that living there would be bad. She was wrong…it was like living in hell.

The so-called officials constantly took away things owned by the people in town. They also collected taxes from the villagers…taxes that were too big to pay. That was why most of the people living there were very poor while those officials lived in luxury.

She thought that this was the worst they could do…she was wrong. In less than a month living in Sound, a few ninjas came to their house, and they wanted…her father. They asked him to join their army, knowing his exceptional skills as a ninja. He refused, saying that he would die rather than serving them.

Two weeks later, they killed him. Sakura could only cry at his death. They didn't allow her or any relatives to see him. Soon, it was obvious that her mother, Hana couldn't sustain them both. She was an exceptional medic. The pink-haired girl even heard rumors that her mother was trained by a Legendary Sannin when she was young.

She put the thought aside though, because the only Sannin she knew was Orochimaru, and she didn't like him at all. Of course, who would like someone who made your life like living in hell? Everyday their debts were building up, and soon, the officials came into their house to get her mother as well.

Sakura watched her mother being dragged out of the house. She followed her, tears threatening to fall. She didn't let them…she wouldn't show her weakness to those cold hearted bastards.

She looked around. All the villagers were kneeling with their heads looking down. She was confused…until she heard someone shout, "Bow to Orochimaru-sama!" She looked at the man standing in front of her mother.

He held her mother's neck, and soon, he was choking her. Sakura gasped – and without thinking, she ran and bit the man's arm. She looked at him in the eye with all the anger she could muster.

She knew she was in for it…but what happened next wasn't what she had expected. He looked at her interestingly and smirked. "You!" he said, pointing at her. "You're coming with me to the palace." He said scarily. His voice made Sakura shiver involuntarily.

Her eyes widened and her mother hugged her. "No! Please! Just take me!" she shouted. Orochimaru only continued to smirk, pretending not to hear Hana's pleads.

"No…I want her. She'll be trained. She has her father's blood after all. She will turn out to be a good ninja…for my service."

7 years later…

"You called for me, master Orochimaru?" a pink-haired girl said, putting emphasis on the word master and saying it with disgust. The so called man chuckled. "My, my, Sakura-chan, so many years have passed and you still despise me?" he said.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "And always will. Just get to the point. Why did you want me?" She replied rather impatiently. He looked at her and smirked. "Getting impatient now are we?" he said, then his expression suddenly turned cold and serious.

"I'm sending you to spy on the Uchiha kingdom. Tell me how the army is doing after these years and I want you to go inside the palace as well. Get all the information you can find…especially about the prince. Report back when they least expect us to attack."

Her eyes narrowed. "Why send me?" she asked. Orochimaru chuckled. "If you do this mission, your family's debt will be paid…and your mother as well as yourself will be free." He smirked at the shocked expression on her face, which she changed back to a stoic one a few seconds later.

Before she could reply, he added. "You will also have to dye your hair." Her eyes widened and he could tell she was fuming, despite the darkness in the room. "Why do I have to do that?!" she demanded.

"People there may recognize you…you lived there since birth until 10 years old after all. Besides, it isn't everyday you see a girl with pink hair. A jutsu will not work because the Uchihas will be able to see it and they would get suspicious."

She sighed, looking down and unconsciously twirling some strands of her pink hair with her finger. Her hair reached until her mid-back. She looked up, facing him and with all the courage she had, she answered.

"I accept."

Orochomaru smirked, knowing all too well what her answer could have been even before she even entered the dark room. "Good. You leave by tomorrow morning. And report back as soon as possible…about a year at maximum." He said. "A year? You're giving that much time for this mission?" she asked, looking at him skeptically.

"This mission is important and crucial to Sound's progress. You better get it right. If not…there's always someone who can take all the punishments directed to you." He replied. She winced. "You better not hurt mother when I'm gone." She said to him sternly.

"Of course…unless you don't get this mission right." He replied. She turned to leave, when his voice stopped her. "One more thing, do not let your emotions get in the way." He said. She tilted her head to look at him. "They never got in the way in the missions you gave me before…why start now?" she answered, walking away confidently.

He smirked at her retreating back as a dark figure stood beside him. "Why didn't you just tell her that there would be a tournament to be the prince's bodyguard?" Kabuto asked. Orochimaru looked at him, still smirking.

"She will find out for herself…"

Sakura sighed while jumping from tree to tree at a rapid pace. Uchiha Kingdom…it's been so long since I've been there… she thought, unconsciously touching the pendant on her neck. She looked at it and smiled. She would never forget the day he gave it to her…

"Here…take it." An 11 year-old boy said. He had onyx eyes and brown hair. He put something in her hand. She looked at it and gasped, looking at the boy before her. It was a heart-shaped pendant filled with emeralds. At the middle, there were kunzites, forming what looked like a cherry blossom.

(A kunzite is a pink gemstone)

He smirked at her reaction. "Emerald because of your eyes and kunzite because of your hair." He said. She shook her head. "I can't possibly take this!" she replied, handing it over to him. He didn't take it.

"I want you to have it…as a little goodbye present." She looked at him. "I'm only going to Sound to visit my relatives! I'll be back in less than a month." She said reassuringly. "I still want you to have it." He replied, smirking.

"But you can sell it! I'm sure your family would need the money!" she replied. He shook his head. "Just get it, Saku." She looked at him. His eyes showed sincerity. She smiled and hugged him…one last time.


She never saw him again after that incident because they remained in Sound, having heard of what Itachi had done. She missed him greatly. He was her 'playmate' when she was in the Uchiha Kingdom. He would come to her house at least four times a week.

She remembered asking him what he did on other days. He said he was just busy and refused to answer further. Come to think of it…I never saw his parents either… Sakura thought. They met when she was 6, he was 7.

Though as time passed, he seemed busier. She asked him why but as usual, he refused to answer…so she just enjoyed the time they spent together.

Sakura shook her thoughts away. There's no time thinking about these things…I should be more focused at the task at hand. She thought. But she smiled soon after.

It is possible to meet him again…right?

She finally arrived, jumping past the gate. She narrowed her eyes. Too easy…where is everyone? She thought, looking at the streets. There were barely any people out. Then she heard something…it sounded like people shouting.

She went towards it, and before her stood what looked like a big arena. She slipped in. There seemed to be more guards at this entrance. But nothing I can't handle. She thought, smirking. She put the hood on her cloak on, hiding her outfit and her face, as well as her now black hair.

She scanned the surroundings. It looked like the whole kingdom was there. At the middle of the arena, there were two people fighting – both she could see, were well-built. Then she looked up and saw who she presumed was the royal family…excluding Itachi.

She recognized them as King Fugaku and Queen Mikoto. Beside the king was a boy, maybe about the same age as her. He had raven hair and onyx eyes. The prince…why does he look familiar? She put away the thought when she heard the crowd roar and someone shouted, "He's down!"

"Anyone else?" a blonde-haired boy asked in the middle of the stadium. It looked like he was the host of the tournament. She looked more closely. 'Naruto' was printed on his shirt. She took off her hood and approached a woman. "What's happening here?" she asked.

The woman looked at her skeptically. "You don't know? The one that would win this tournament will be Prince Sasuke's personal bodyguard! And have riches you can never imagine!" she said.

Sakura's eyes narrowed. Riches huh? I'll give it a try then. I guess mother and I would need it after this mission. Besides, I could use this chance to roam around the palace freely… She thought.

"Anyone want to battle?" Naruto repeated, looking at the crowd who were silent. Everyone was scared to battle the champion. He was a big man with a well-built body. Silence reigned for a while until…

"I will."

Everyone turned their heads to Sakura. Many gasped and whispered to each other.

"She's beautiful!"

"Do you think she can win?"

"Of course not! He'll shred her to pieces!"

"Letting her join is a bad idea…"

She walked up the fighting ring, pretending not to hear their voices. She failed to notice the prince's eyes narrow at her. "Are you sure?" Naruto asked her uncertainly. She raised her eyebrow. "Of course…Let's just get this over with." She replied.

The champion from the last round approached her. He was a big man but judging by the match he had earlier, he was very quick with his movements. "I won't be going easy on you." He said in a low voice. She glared at him. "I will." And her eyes narrowed as she continued, "Don't underestimate me." He laughed. "We'll see about that." He replied. She smirked "Yeah…we will."

"Okay, enough talk! Start fighting!" Naruto said. The crowd was silent, waiting in anticipation. The champion gave her a blow using his fists. Left. Right. Up. Right… She dodged everything. A few minutes have passed and he was finally tired enough to stop.

Sakura smirked at him. "That's all you got?" she asked. He narrowed his eyes at her. "I'm done playing games." He replied. She grinned. "Finally…"

He brought out two big swords that were hung on his back. The crowd gasped at how big they were. Others cheered because it was only now that he actually took it out to fight. Nonetheless, Sakura remained undaunted. The opponent smirked and ran, all the while trying to slash Sakura to pieces. She evaded every attack he made.

She narrowed her eyes as he stopped slashing and faced her. "Dodging won't help you beat me." He said. She smirked looking down. "You're right…" she said, then took off her cloak, to reveal her red dress with black tights that ended a few inches above her knees.

(it looks like the outfit she has in the anime although it doesn't have the Haruno symbol on it.)

The crowd gasped and many men whistled. The prince was more observant though. A shuriken pouch? So she's a kuniochi… He thought. Her fighting stance showed that she knew the ninja ways as well.

She swiftly ran to her enemy, gathering chakra in her palms. She gripped his arms, causing him to let go of his swords. She then hit some of the pressure points in his body and landed a few meters away from him.

Everyone else was silent, too stunned to react. It was obvious that he was paralyzed. She looked over at Naruto who stared back at her, still dumbfounded. He collected himself a few seconds later though.

"The winner is-" Naruto stopped, looking at Sakura. Uhh…what name will I give?! Sakura thought, panicking. A few seconds passed and there was silence. "Uhh…my name is Sakura Haruko…" she said, plastering a smile on her face.

'Haruko?! What kind of last name is that?' Inner Sakura screamed. Sakura sighed. It'll have to do…besides the only one who knows me by heart here is…him.

Unbeknownst to her, the prince was smirking from afar.

"Long time no see…Sakura."

Author's Note: So here's chapter 1…or I guess the prologue because there wasn't much interaction between the characters and it focused more on introducing them so…Good? Bad? Delete? It's my second fanfic (if you exclude the oneshot xD) It's just an experimental one though.

Please no flames…constructive criticisms are welcome xD I still don't know how the story would turn out so I'm very open to suggestions as well :P

- Gabbeh

Posted: December 14, 2006
Rewritten: April 15, 2007