Hello everyone! A few notes before the story starts.

SPOILERS!!!! Oh, there will be a ton of spoilers for those of you who are not up-to-date with the manga. I read the new chapter every week and I plan on using the original character names. (like the ones Kishi uses.)

I LIVE off of REVIEWS!!! The more there are, the faster and better I write! SO REVIEW! If you take the time out to read this story, at least leave a comment please.

This is a prologue-ish chapter, since it sort of ends like one, but the next one…well…I'll let you find out.

Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, I don't own Naruto…but I wished I did…


A single man bends at the world,

But, a group stands and does not break.

The rising sun gave birth to a new day, its bright rays dispersed the remaining, fleeting shadows of night, and slowly crept its way into the room of a certain kunoichi. It warmed her bed and covers and, ultimately, forced her to get up. Groaning, she slumped out of bed and dragged her feet to the shower. The cold water shocked her body, but on the plus side, woke her up. After drying her hair, putting on some clean clothes, and grabbing a quick breakfast, she was on her way.

She gathered up her things and silently thought to herself. "Okay is there anything I need to bring to Tsunade-sama?" Convinced that there wasn't, she headed for the door. She was just about the close it, when the date on the calendar caught her eye. Her mood instantly dropped into a deep sadness. She slowly walked over toward the calendar, and tenderly placed her hand over the date. "Do not worry…I have not forgotten about you, and I'll do everything I can to bring you back." She let her hand slide and walked out the door without making a sound.

A slight knocking on the door disturbed Tsunade from her never-ending pile of paperwork.

"Come in." She demanded. Slowly the door opened and Sakura walked in, an odd look of sadness in her eyes. "Oh, good morning Sakura, what brings you here? Your training under me is over…"

"I'm here for my mission Tsunade-sama, or have you forgotten?" Sakura smiled, but it was obviously forced.

"Oh yes." Tsunade reached for a folder on her desk and pulled out a piece of paper. "This request came in earlier yesterday. Although the instructions are pretty clear-cut, it is an A ranked mission. Apparently, a small city on the eastern side of Lightning Country is having a bit of trouble with a group of rouge ninjas. You are to find out who they are and exterminate the problem."

"Hold on, how come the Cloud Village isn't dealing with this?"

"That's what I thought, but maybe its one of their own ninjas." Tsunade shrugged.

"That's still not a good reason."

"Well…they are paying quite well for this…" Sakura shot her former mentor a mad glance.

"And, if this is an A ranked mission dealing with what could be a very powerful enemy, why are you only sending one person? A full squad would be much better suited…" Tsunade sighed and unconsciously re-arranged a few papers on her desk.

"Konoha has been receiving a lot of missions lately dealing with rouge ninjas causing problems. Most of the Leaf shinobi have been sent off to deal with problems similar to this one." Sakura thought for a moment and then widen her eyes in realization.

"Tsunade-sama! If what you say is true then," Sakrua spoke urgently as if she couldn't get the words out fast enough. "Someone could be planning-"

"An attack on Konoha." Tsunade finished up. "Yes, I thought about that possibility after receiving the fifth mission like this one. I sent out small groups of highly skilled Jounin to be safe for the first ones, but when they returned, they said the mission was a lot easier then they expected. They even said it could have been ranked as a B mission…Then I began to think that either the number of rouge ninja is on the rise or, whoever is planning this wants to catch us off guard and is using the rouge ninja attacks to draw shinobi away from the village. And by having the rouge ninjas weaker than we thought, they hope I will send less numbers of shinobi on each mission and-" This time, it was Sakura who finished the sentence.

"And pick us off, one by one…" Tsunade looked at her former student and nodded. "But, if that is true then why are you sending only one person? If you do that, you'd just be falling into their trap!" Tsunade turned around in her chair, facing the window.

"I know something is going to happen on this mission." Tsunade said this with an eerie seriousness. Sakura wondered what she was talking about and was just about to ask "how" when Tsunade responded. "I won the lottery today."

Sakura was even more puzzled then before. "What is she talking about?"

"Maybe you don't know what this implies but," Tsunade took a deep breath before continuing. "The last time I won this big was when Orochimaru showed up and attacked me and Jiraiya and when Gaara was kidnapped. It may sound like I'm sending you out on a suicide mission, but I have my reasons for only sending you. You're smart, you're a medical ninja, you're precise chakra control is above a normal Jounin, and, finally, you were trained by me. Sakura, I have complete faith in you, so don't you dare die on me!" Sakura smiled at Tsunade's words but it didn't last long.

"Hai…" She turned and walked towards the door.

"Sakura." She stopped at the sound of her name; her hand was already on the doorknob, but she didn't turn around. "Something is bothering you." Tsunade put her elbows on her desk and rested her head on her intertwined fingers as she waited for an answer.

The date on the calendar flashed in Sakura's mind and in a low voice, she replied with one simple sentence. "Another year has gone by." And with that, Sakura left the room.

So, there you have it.