A/N: So after writing that first Sasu/Saku fic, I figured that I could try and write another one. This one, however, is going to have more chapters than the first one. And also differing from the first one, this is going to be an AU.

I also apologize if anyone sounds out of character. I'll be sure to fix it in the future.

And with that said, please R&R!

Chapter One

The sun blared down on the girl's exposed back. There wasn't much she could do about it since she was in a treeless area. In her kneeling position, she wiped away a drop of sweat before it could cascade down her face. The basket at her hip was filled with herbs that her mentor had addressed her to gather.

Her attention was on an herb that helped resolve infections in any type of wound. She had to dig to get the root of the Salvia plant because the root was the main ingredient of the medicine. However, the plant was being stubborn and had grown its roots deep into the ground.

As she tugged at the plant in the hole she had dug around it, she grunted, "I swear to you that you're coming out of this hole, do you understand? I'm tired, dirty, and it's getting late so if you don't remove yourself from this ground, there will be hell to pay."

To her content, the plant was then easily pulled from the earth. She hacked off a little of the roots with a small knife and buried the plant back so that it could grow again. The roots fell into the woven basket and the girl brushed herself off as she rose to her feet. She skipped down from her perch on the hill to the dirt path below.

When I get back home, I'm going to give these herbs to Lady Tsunade and then relax in a nice bath! She thought to herself as she walked along.

The day was going well for Sakura. It was somewhat relaxing compared to the other types of work the girl had to do. She realized that it was becoming more and more stressful watching people coming in for treatment and having to deal with the occasional frighten patient. When Lady Tsunade had asked her to gather the plants for herbal medication, she jumped on the chance to leave.

It was also to be a test for her. Her mentor previously had told her that if she wished to surpass her level as an apprentice healer to master level, then she had to memorize the herbs and techniques used.

The bushes on the side of the path rustled with fierce movement. The pink-haired girl halted and took a step back in defense.

And she was right to do so. Two men, practically bandits, removed themselves from their hiding spot and smirked at the girl.

"Oi, you're a pretty one ain't yea," one of the bandits chortled. "A pretty one indeed. I would hate to have to rough you up a bit if you refuse to give us your valuables. Heh?"

He took a step closer causing the girl to step back. Her green eyes narrowed in on the two predators. "Back off," she hissed.

"I don't think so girly," the other bandit said grimly. "Just remove anything of value to you and let us on our way."

Sakura shook her pink locks in disagreement and dropped her basket to the ground, the contents spilling onto the dirt. Her fists curled up in front of her, ready to move to the offensive if needed. "You're going to have to fight me for them," she challenged.

"If that's the way you want it," the bandit replied. He and his partner rushed towards the girl, his partner pulling his fist back to punch the girl.

To his dismay, the girl blocked it from hitting her and hit his face with the back of her hand. Her mentor had taught her some self-defense if such occasion was to arise. She would have to thank her when she returned home. However, she did not see the other bandit hit her.

The force of the blow knocked the girl to the ground. She clenched her stomach and hissed at the pain. Today was supposed to be relaxing, how did it get to this?

On the ground, the girl growled with anger, "Is that the best you got?"

One bandit snorted, "You shouldn't be saying such things when you're the one in pain."

The healer staggered to her feet. "Want to run that by me again?" Then her feet buckled and back to the ground she went. The pain from the punch had not yet gone.

The bandit that had previously punched the girl, circled behind her. "You're in no position to be saying such things Pinky," he said smugly. "Now give us-."

"Oi, what are you two doing to that girl?" a voice interrupted.

Sakura and the bandits turned to look at the voice's owner. There, on top a black steed was a man adorned in black and navy blue. He was staring intently at the man surrounding Sakura. She figured he was on of those mountain men, the ones who travel around and only come down to villages to re-stock on supplies. The girl had never actually seen one, but all the packs on his horse's saddle seemed to help fit the description.

"This is none of your concern sir!" shouted one of the bandits.

The man cocked an eyebrow. "You're making it my concern if she has been harmed," he explained roughly. "And by the looks of it, she seems to be in pain."

The two bandits pulled daggers from their sides. "You're asking for it stranger! Back off before we have to hurt you too!"

"Hn." The man seemed unnerved by the drawing of weapons. He simply got off his ride and ran his fingers through his spiky raven locks. A smirk was planted on his face.

This angered the two bandits. He was mocking them! Saw them as a weak threat! "You arrogant bastard!" a bandit proclaimed angrily. "How dare you see us as a simple threat! We show you what we do to people who make ill assumptions of us!"

The two men rushed forward towards the lone one. The dark-haired man pulled his chokutō from its sheath. He spun it once before jabbing it into the stomach of one of the bandits. Yanking it free, he collided it with the remaining bandit's dagger. The weapon slipped out of his hand and the bandit was defenseless. His cry of shock was met with the piercing of his prey's weapon.

When the body slumped to the ground, the man placed his sword back into its home. He looked to Sakura and held his hand towards her to help her up.

It shocked him when she shouted out, "What the hell was that? I so had them!"

Ah, so she was one of those types of girls. He thought. He grunted. "I didn't have to help you," he said coolly. He grabbed his horse's reins and mounted on to its back. Then he kicked the animal's sides and rode off leaving the girl in its dust.

The girl had never been so mad before. She was not a weak person and hated to be treated as such. If she ever saw that man again, oh there will be hell to pay. Seems to be a lot of hell to pay today.

Sakura went over to her fallen items and collected them back up into the basket. She dusted off her frame and started to walk back down to her village.

Lady Tsunade poured the sake into her often used cup. She brought the liquid to her lips and let it flow down her throat. A light blush appeared on her cheeks and she set the cup down. Sakura would have told her that she shouldn't be drinking so much, the girl hated to see her teacher drunk. Ah, but said girl was not present and so then woman could drink to her heart's desire.

Lifted the sake bottle once more, she tried to pour her beloved drink into the cup. A drop fell into the cup and the woman was disappointed. But nothing to fear!

"Shizune!" Tsunade shouted. A black haired woman peered from behind some curtains.

"Yes?" she asked curiously. The blonde pointed to her vile of alcohol as if to ask for more.

"Eh, don't you think you've had enough Lady Tsunade?"

"Shizune," Lady Tsunade grunted, eyes narrowed. "I'll know when I've had enough now get me some more."

Shizune hesitated before she nodded. Knowing how the woman got when she was partially drunk, she didn't want to make her upset. She went into the back room and saw one of her master's apprentices studying. The girl had scrolls out on the human body and was staring at them.

"Um, Ino?"

Ino looked up at the older girl and smiled. "Hello, Shizune. I'm just studying up a bit," she explained. "I'm going to have to study harder if I'm ever going to beat Sakura."

"It's great to see you studying, but Tsunade's sake has run out and I was wondering if you could check the stock room for some more."

The blonde sighed and gave one last glance at the scrolls before leaving

towards stock house. A knock echo throughout the building and like she knew she would, Lady Tsunade's voice shouted out, "Shizune! The door!"

Sighing at the task given to her, Shizune pulled back the wooden door and simply stared.

The man at the door was quite cute and his onyx eyes bore into her. "Does Lady Tsunade reside here?" he coldly asked.

Shizune nodded and beckoned him inside their residence. "Um, do you have an appointment with the healer? She didn't say anything about having visitors today," the woman asked nervously.


The woman just bowed her head and replied, "Well, I'll just go get her for you."

Practically racing into the next room, Shizune found her master with her head embedded on the oak table in front of her. She went down and poked the blonde's arm. "Tsunade? Tsunade?"

Lady Tsunade's hand swiped the other girl's hand away. "What," she grumbled, head still planted on the table.

"Someone here to see you."

The healer lifted her head and wiped the corner of her mouth. Her almond eyes narrowed. "Who thinks that they are so important that they can just drop in here without an appointment?"

Shizune backed away nervously. "He didn't really tell me his name, but I'll send him in."

The older woman watched the girl leave and then return back with the uninvited visitor. Her eyes danced with resignation.

"You," she said. "It's been awhile hasn't Sasuke."

The man nodded, his arms crossed over his chest. Shizune then caught on to his identity.

"Lady Tsunade you don't mean to tell me that this is who I think this?"

Tsunade nodded to her apprentice. "Hai, this is Sasuke Uchiha, banished Prince of Konoha," she explained. "I used to be his family's medical advisor before his brother took power. Nasty man of a king. What brings you here boy?"

"I need a healer to accompany me back home," he stated simply.

Lady Tsunade yawned a little and set her head on top of her hands. She looked dead center at the man before stating, "Why?"

"I don't need to explain my actions to you, just say 'yes' or 'no' that all," he grumbled.

The woman rolled her eyes. "Arrogant as ever that's for sure, but I'm too old to be traveling anywhere. However, I could send one of my apprentices with you."

Sasuke nodded. Shizune, however, did not like where this was going.

"Lady Tsunade! How can you just let him have one of your apprentices without anymore details?" she proclaimed. "For all we know, he could be sending them to their deaths!"

"Because," the blonde explained. "I trust him."

Shizune looked outraged and the Uchiha just smirked. "Tsunade, you're drunk aren't you?" the black hair girl asked.

Tsunade shook her head in disagreement. "No, but I'm still waiting for that sake."

Just then, Ino peered her head into the doorway. "Um, sorry to interrupt Lady Tsunade, but I'm afraid that we are currently out of sake."

The older blonde rose to her feet, her hands slamming down onto the table with incredible force. The table cracked and then fell apart into two pieces.

There goes another one. Shizune told herself.

"There isn't anymore? How can that be?" Tsunade shouted at her blonde apprentice.

Sasuke let out a single, "Ahem."

The others looked at him for a moment. Ino couldn't believe her eyes. There, standing before her, was the most handsome man in the world. She couldn't take her blue eyes off of him. His raven hair, deep onyx eyes, he was completely and utterly perfect for her. At least she thought so in her mind.

"There is still the matter of which apprentice of yours I am to take," he stated, annoyed.

Ino's eyes gleamed with happiness. "Oh, oh! I'll go with you!" she cheered. There was no way that she would let anyone snag him before she had a shot.

Sasuke narrowed his onyx eyes at the girl and was about to say something. Thankfully, he was interrupted by Lady Tsunade.

"Ino, that's not for you to decide and sadly I'm sorry to say that your healing abilities are not yet at a mastered level," she declared. "No (now looking at the Uchiha), the apprentice that I believe should go is Sakura."

Ino's jaw dropped. "What?!"

As if on queue, Sakura walked into the now crowded room. The basket of herbs against her hips dropped once again when she saw who was also in the room.

"You!" she roared, pointing an accusing finger in the only male presence in the room. Sasuke shrugged his shoulders carelessly.

Lady Tsunade smiled at her pink-haired student. "Ah, Sakura I was just talking about you. I was wondering if you could do me a favor."

But the girl paid her teacher's words no heed. "What are you doing here you bastard!?" she shouted at Sasuke.

"Sakura! You can't talk to him like that!" Shizune gasped.

Sakura looked destructively towards Shizune. "And why the hell not?"

"Um, because Sakura, he is the Prince of Konoha."

The pink-haired medic couldn't believe her ears. This guy who had interrupted her battle with the bandits and then rode off was royalty? Her jade eyes jumped over to the black-haired man in the room. "And you didn't care to tell me this why?" she raged towards the Uchiha.


"That's all you're going to say!?"

The man shrugged and the girl fumed. Ino still couldn't believe that Sakura knew the guy.

Tsunade had had enough of her apprentice ignoring her and stated once again, "Sakura, as you know this is Sasuke Uchiha said Prince of Konoha. I would like you to accompany him back to Konoha."

The girl became mortified. "What? Why me? Couldn't Ino go? She looks like she would just love to travel with the guy."

The blonde shook her head 'no'. "Sakura, your talents as a healer have grown since you came here. If you want to ever get to my level of healing, then you must go with him. Alright?" The last remark was said more as a threat than anything else.

The girl considered her options. If she refused, then she would forever be an apprentice to Tsunade. It was hard work and she didn't want to go through it again. Then there was option two. Say she did go with this "Sasuke" guy. All she pretty much had to do was travel home with him and then come back right? It sounded easy enough. She'll just have to let her grudge against him go if she wanted to get through it.

"Alright," she finally agreed. "I'll go if that's what you wish, Lady Tsunade."

Her mentor nodded and the Uchiha dropped a pouch in her hands. Lady Tsunade looked inside and pulled out one of many gold coins. She looked curiously at the man.

"Its payment for allowing me to take her with me," he explained. "I'll also be sending you your weight in sake just to seal our deal."

Tsunade grinned from ear to ear. Sakura's jaw dropped to the floor. She was being traded off, for sake at the least!

She opened her mouth to complain, but Tsunade caught her. "You already agreed Sakura you can't back out now."

The girl's mouth opened and closed like how a fish would if it was out of water. Then she finally let whatever else she wanted to say go and left to pack.

Turning towards the prince, the older healer demanded, "You are to watch over her. Do not let any harm come to her or so help me I'll make it that you can't have any future Uchiha's in your lifetime? Understand? She is like a daughter to me and I don't want to lose her."

Sasuke smirked and nodded. He was an Uchiha. If anyone could protect her, he could. Cause, seriously who would challenge an Uchiha?