So, this plot line is based off of the Liar Game; I was reading it one day and I thought it would make a good story. It's my first story on fanfic and the first ten chapters aren't the best but I've had a beta reader look at this chapter and hopefully I'll get the next chapters updated too. So I might not update for a little while. It's Sakura centered and mostly just about her growing up, there's not as much romance. If you're sick of Romancy Sakura stories you'll probably like this. (I feel that though she's kind of... 'so-so' in the manga but has a lot of potential to be someone stronger).
Enjoy and don't worry about me put this on haitus; even if it takes me years, I'll get it done :p.
Sakura moved down from her room, every sound she made echoing eerily off the thin walls. Because she completed her first 'C' mission in the land of the waves her parents trusted her on her own.
The overwhelming amount of freedom seemed surreal and she didn't know whether to be frightened or excited. At first she had been upbeat, singing to herself as she moved about the house and keeping the curtains wide open to let in the sunlight. But once the initial thrill of freedom wore off and the light entering from the windows faded, the utter loneliness ate at her and she began to regret ever letting her parents step out the front door.
The shadows seemed to lengthen more quickly across her living room floor and even with her resolve to remain fearless and poised she jumped every time when the house creaked or the branches of the tree in her small backyard scratched on the wall. Eventually her nerve broke and she went around the house double checking locks and drawing the curtains.
In fact, the only reason she wasn't cowering pathetically in her room, shivering under the pale pink blankets, was that she was imagining how the love of her life, Uchiha Sasuke, would think of her panicky actions. He'd sneer if he knew her fears.
So Sakura tried to act calmly, cooking her dinner, muttering all the ninja regulations and rules under her breath. The exercise helped her focus and she took pride in the fact she had memorized them front and back. Sakura, no matter what Sasuke thought of her, or anyone else for that matter, felt a twinge of pride whenever she saw the glint of her headband in the mirror. She had a quick reaction time and an analytical mind, great for acting quickly in missions (theoretically). But fear (of failing, dying, looking stupid) kept her from doing more than the bare minimum. Sakura accepted it and somehow seeing the two backs of her teammates (three counting Kakashi) backs ready to protect her comforted her.
After her small dinner of onigiri there was a soft knock at her door that made her jump and her heart race. She moved slowly toward the sound, drying her hands on her apron, oddly anxious about opening it though it was probably only Ino, ready to take full advantage of her parentless house.
She opened the door and it wasn't Ino but a harmless looking man in uniform, holding a small white package; behind him, a truck labeled with a popular delivery company waited, rumbling idly.
"Ah, Haruno, Sakura?" he asked, looking down at the name on the box in his hands.
Sakura nodded dumbly, her pink locks swinging around her face while she twisted the soft fabric of her dress nervously. She had never gotten a package before, only watched as her parents received what seemed like a gift and she couldn't stop glancing at the white box.
The man handed it to her, drawing from underneath his other arm a clipboard and setting it on the top.
"Sign here," he said briskly.
Sakura quickly did as she was told, and with a small bob of his head he collected the clipboard and strode down the cracked stone steps to his waiting truck; the surprisingly heavy package in her hands.
She found herself closing the door and drifting over to the red leather couch, sitting stiffly on the edge of one of the cushions. The package was boxed in the standard form, completely nondescript and saying nothing about what was inside.
With the mindless but precise actions that got Sakura through the ninja academy, she opened the box and parted the white packaging peanuts. Her hands touched something smooth and bitingly cold; a dagger about the length of her arm. The sheath was unmarked, a black so deep that it seemed to absorb light. Sakura carefully and slowly slid the dagger away from its casing. She gasped, her eyes widening. It was astonishing, like no other weapon she had seen before. The metal looked to be made of a deep crimson material, as if it had been formed from pure bloodlust found on battlefields.
Who would send her this? Sakura gasped and smiled, Sasu-! She frowned and shook her head free of the optimistic thought; he would never do something like this. It was probably a present from her parents for her successful mission.
Something in the discarded box caught her eye: a card. Sliding the dagger back into its sheath, she reached for it.
Congratulations! You have been selected to compete in the Grizzly Game and have the opportunity to win up to six very unique weapons! The dagger you have received is WRATH, one out of the seven involved in this game. We have lent you the use of Wrath for only the period of the Grizzly Game and will collect it from you at the end. If you have lost your beginning dagger your soul will suit as a substitution. Any dagger you take from another player will not be collected from you and you are welcome to keep. The game will start today at 5 pm and will end in thirty days. Removing the dagger from its sheath signifies your consent to playing. Good luck!
"Oh shit," Sakura groaned, dropping the card and letting her head lay limp in her hands.
The naked blade glinted in the corner of her eye. Could she be so stupid? She had taken the dagger out of the case already! She wanted a redo, rewind time to when she opened the door to slam it in the delivery man's face. Her first 'present' and it was this; a death warrant.
They will take her soul if she lost this dagger? Were they able to take it, as if it were merely a regular transaction? Sakura couldn't move, nerves shot. How could they take her soul? It wasn't possible, there was no rational way that could happen! And if there was a way…she didn't stand a chance. She was only a genin, an inexperienced girl! She snorted at the pride that filled her all a few minutes earlier. What would rules and regulations do for her now?
Only thirty days. She had to last a month and she would be fine. Just fine. Her parents could protect her, her teammates, Konoha even! Everyone… standing in front of her. But where would that leave her among all those so much stronger, those who actually put their whole heart into their ninja way? When everything and everyone is stripped away only her weakness and fear are left, cowering under those blankets in her room. What would Sasuke think?
The façade shattered and she slumped again into the couch. He'd hate her. Heck, even she'd hate herself.
In the end she would be slaughtered, she would lose her soul, if not her life. What kind of game could do this to a person? And why? The pointlessness of it ate at Sakura and a part of her demanded to know the answers. She ached to throw the dagger out the window and pretend it never happened.
The dagger. They said it was unique. Maybe it could help her. If it had some awesome power that would raise her talent to above average and she stood a chance. She didn't think about the fact that all the players had a similar dagger; the thought scared her.
Sakura reached for it, grasping the hilt. Sliding back the sheath an inch, she probed it with her chakra and in the instant it touched the metal, a needle-like presence tore into her mind.
"Wha-?" she gasped.
Sakura went white as a sheet, her stomach rolling with protest. She couldn't open her hands as if they were glued to it. She tried to shove the dagger away, tried to scream but even lesser tasks such as crying or blinking out of rhythm were taken from her. She lost all feeling as her mind was invaded by an alien presence, probing. In seconds her memories were shuffled through and discarded as trash. Acid adrenaline rushed through her body and if it weren't for her frozen state she'd have fainted.
"Weak. No use at all," spat a deep and unfamiliar voice, cutting through her thoughts and startling her into a surprised silence.
He sounded angry, cynical with every word. And she heard him in her head but he was nothing like inner Sakura who was part of herself.
"Snap out of it. Aren't you a ninja?" the voice growled.
Taken aback, Sakura tried to speak but found that she still couldn't move her lips.
'W-who are you?' she thought instead.
The voice scoffed, "Are you utterly stupid? You already know my name, girl."
Sakura glanced at the card, lying innocently on the floor.
'A-are you Wrath?' she thought, stunned and stuttering even without using her tongue.
"You have finally managed to grasp the obvious," he drawled, sounding almost bored.
'But… but, how is this even possible? What are you?' she asked, thinking quickly but coming up without an answer.
"Simple, I am the anger of countless souls, made to manifest in a single blade when they die with me at their hand or with their blood on my blade. I am what you feel when your eyes go hard and your soul turns black. I am the end of innumerable people. Their lifeblood is stained on my blade," he said dully with the ever present edge of sarcasm.
Sakura's thoughts screamed to a standstill. This…. This dagger felt evil. The voice itself scared her senseless, as if it was attached to a man that had her cornered in a dark alley and held a kunai to her throat. And it felt all wrong; everything he said felt deceitful, it was just too unbelievable.
'What do you mean? Souls! What you're saying isn't even possible!' she screamed at him.
Sakura's thorough analytical skills kicked in and her mind raced through countless questions all summed into one word.
'Why?' she wailed pathetically.
"You are my master. I came to your hand. For whatever reason, I am stuck with you until my first master parts us. Until then I expect you to stay alive or your wrath will join those already absorbed into my blade. And I will not let you part with me," he explained impatiently.
Sakura said nothing, only hanging her head. Why had she drawn the dagger? What had she gotten into?
"You have the chance of a lifetime," he offered then paused before continuing in sleeker tone of voice, "I will keep you alive… at a price."
He would help her? In Sakura a spark of hope was lit. She hand a chance! Whatever the price was she could do it.
'Yes! Yes! I'll do it!' she said hysterically.
"So you will kill my true master before I leave your possession? Good girl, agreeing so nicely," he said, voice thick with satisfaction.
Sakura's insides turned to ice and her hope vanished in the wake of his words. He wanted her to do what?
"When it comes to it I will help you hold your end of this bargain, if you agree to my terms and do as I say," he finished simply.
This was all too quick and Sakura was floundering in indecision. She didn't know what to do. She only wanted to let go and be free of this presence that made her mind ache. Thinking beyond that goal was too scary. Killing someone, and fighting in turn for her own life. Sakura just wanted him out; she needed to think.
FIGHT HIM!Yelled inner Sakura from a corner of her mind.
Sakura ached with relief.
DON'T LET HIM GET THE BEST OF US! HE DOESN'T KNOW WHO HE'S DEALING WITH!
Sakura nodded firmly, her resolve strengthening.
"Who the hell are you?" Wrath snarled, an edge of surprise to his voice.
'Get out of my head!'
OUT YOU BASTARD!
Sakura willed her hands to open. With each movement her hand tried to make, pain shot through her body. It felt as if she was trying reach into her head and rip her spine out.
"Ahh!" she screamed and her hands sprang open, the presence in her head leaving a last sentence ringing in her ears.
"You will need me girl," he ended quietly, unmoved by her show of will power.
Wrath dropped to the ground, the deadly red metal gleaming under the light. Sakura scrambled as far away from it as she could. This all seemed so surreal. She had thought she had been frozen for minutes talking to Wrath, when really, no time passed at all.
Sakura stood, sagging against the wooden wall and breathing hard. She ripped her eyes away from the enticing weapon lying on the white carpet, shutting them tiredly. The struggle with Wrath had sucked out all her energy and she was left with only a listless finality. It all had happened. Sakura was really a part of a game that if you lose, you lose your soul.
Slowly, with the movements of an old hag, Sakura made her way to her room, not caring anymore what Sasuke would think of her; somehow there were more important things to worry about now.
She desperately wanted to run, whining, to Sasuke, Kakashi-sensei, or even Naruto. But she wouldn't. They all already saw her as weak, without any courage to stand on her own. She had to prove them wrong; she couldn't rely on them any longer. She was on her own for the first time in her life. The childhood bullying of her past was nothing compared to this.
She woke to her own screaming. Jolting to a sitting position she heard a ringing then realized the sound was her alarm ringing noisily at her ear. It flashed six fifty in bright red numbers.
Her night had been filled with bloody nightmares. People running from her, limping with injuries, behind her the cries of those she cut down mercilessly. She was exhausted as if she hadn't slept at all. She had seen the deaths of countless people, all at the blade of Wrath, whom she had directed. She knew he was doing this to her sleep, mentally messing with her. Somehow he radiated death; so much that she saw it in her dreams.
She got up despite the urge to lay limp and try to purge her mind of Wrath's influence. She had to meet her team at seven, ten minutes from now. Sakura groaned and fell back onto her pillow; she was never going to make it.
Sakura ran through Konoha, dodging past foot traffic. While she had gotten ready the dagger still lying on the floor had called to her; tempting with its power.
Despite Wrath, she had somehow made it out her door five minutes after she woke up, cutting way too close to seven o'clock. Both Sasuke and Naruto were waiting for her at their meeting place, resolutely facing away from each other.
"Good morning Sasuke-kun!" she couldn't help but squeal; it was routine now and routine felt safe.
Sasuke grunted noncommittally in reply.
"Good morning Sakura-chan!" Naruto yelled happily, almost turning around and facing Sasuke before catching himself.
Sakura nodded to him, still not completely over her annoyance of him. But ever since Wave country she was starting to tolerate him, in an annoying little brother way.
Naruto glared over his shoulder at Sasuke before whipping his head back around to face the other way.
Naruto and Sasuke had been at odds ever since the mission at wave country, their rivalry increasing to extreme ends; Kakashi couldn't get there soon enough.
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO! ACT YOUR AGE!Inner Sakura screamed at the boys.
Three hours later Kakashi finally slouched his way towards them.
"Hey Guys! I got lost!" he said brightly, waving.
Sakura sighed, her head aching too much to bother to yell at their perpetually late sensei. Naruto, though, thought differently:
"You're a failure as a ninja! Hey, hey Kakashi-sensei! Lately all of our team seven mission's have been too easy. I want a more, you know, a hot one! Where I can shine! That follows my ninja path! And my heart like…!" Naruto yelled, oblivious to Kakashi's boredom.
"Yeah, yeah, I pretty much know what you're going to say," Kakashi responded, scratching his head.
She winced at Naruto's complete 'awakeness'. She was way too tired to deal with him today. Kakashi branched off of Naruto's topic, explaining their missions.
Sakura sighed, last night's problems swamped by everyday life on team seven. It helped, in a way, letting her rationalize and step out of the problem. Though it hung just on the edges of her thoughts and it was hard stop thinking of the blade on her living room floor.
"You got it, let's get this over with," Kakashi finished, turning away from them.
Kakashi started down the road, Sasuke and Sakura following closely behind. After a few steps she noticed that Naruto was missing.
"Naruto! Get your ass over here!" she turned, scowling and yelling back at him.
Naruto, busy dreaming of Sasuke's failure, was startled out of his thoughts to find his team had gone on without him.
"Oh, yeah!" he shouted, running to catch up.
"Tut, tut Sakura, such strong language at your age," Kakashi remarked, shaking his head.
"I had a bad night," she answered sullenly, ignoring the look he gave her over the familiar adult book he held up to his face.
It was a bad day too. Throughout all three missions Naruto was set on doing more than Sasuke. He rolled down a cliff while trying to reach a piece of trash, got beaten half to death by an old man he tripped over in his haste to deliver a message, and got bitten several times by a possum stuck in a house. Each time Sasuke was forced to save him, to Sasuke's apparent displeasure (although Sakura did have to admit that she felt satisfied each time she saw Naruto get beaten).
Naruto ended up leaning pathetically against Sakura on the way home from their last mission, whose mood had only gotten worse as the day went on.
"Idiot, there was no need to overexert yourself like that," she chided scathingly.
Naruto clenched his teeth together to the point Sakura could hear them grinding noisily together. She dropped him, ruthlessly walking away.
"Sakura-chan! Don't leave me!" he called after her, sitting where he fell.
"You can walk!" she yelled over her shoulder.
She stood silently next to Kakashi, trying to scrape together a good mood.
"Hmmm, teamwork seems to be suffering lately," he mumbled to himself.
Sakura only glanced at him; when had it not? Even on the second day they had been together, Sasuke forced himself to work with others and Sakura had only helped Naruto because Sasuke had wanted her to. The only true teamwork Sakura had seen on team seven was between Sasuke and Naruto while fighting Zabuza and Haku. She had been left to play guard.
"Yeah, yeah! You're ruining our teamwork you bastard! Always hogging the spot light!" Naruto yelled at Sasuke's retreating back.
"That's your fault you moron. If you want me to stop making you look bad, then just become stronger than me," he replied with a challenging glare.
Naruto gulped, trying and failing to glare back.
Sakura shook her head; they were getting worse. But she had other things to worry about, like Wrath lying in the middle of her living room.
"Ok that's it for today; I have to go submit this mission report," Kakashi said staring at a falcon in the sky.
"Then I'm going home," Sasuke said tersely, turning and walking away.
Sakura knew she said she wouldn't ask for help, she knew she said she'd go through this on her own but seeing Sasuke walk away like that, leaving her alone, she couldn't help but call after him.
She ran after him, feeling her desperation grow, "How about we go train for awhile to work on our teamwork?"
Sasuke had paused but answered her silent plea without hesitating, "You're the same as Naruto. If you have time to bother me, go practice a jutsu or two. Frankly, your ability is below Naruto's."
Sakura flinched severely then looked to the ground and bite her lip. If she was so weak how was she going to survive this alone? It was the truth, she was below Naruto, and she'd known that for a long time. She was going to die and no one would know what she died for. The whole idiocy struck her then and Sakura wondered who could have thought up such a pointless game.
"Sakura-chan, forget Sasuke, let's train together!" Naruto said, obviously feeling bad for her.
His offer was lost on her, she was too deep in thought to notice. She'd have to go home soon and face Wrath again in her empty house.
She didn't see the oddly square rock sneak up behind Naruto and the following conversation between him and the three kids hiding under it. The only thing she caught was:
"What! You said you'd play ninja with us today!"
Play ninja… that was what Sakura had been doing her whole time as a genin; she had never really been trying, only acting. Where would playing get her?
"Why would a ninja play ninja…?" she muttered under her breath, the question more to herself than to Naruto.
Naruto stared at Sakura and paled.
"Uh… What's wrong?" he asked hesitantly.
Sakura blinked, surprised that he had noticed her change in mood.
"Hey bro! Who's this chick?" one of the kids yelled.
Sakura only vaguely noted goggles on his forehead and spiky dark hair.
"Not bad bro," the kid said, leering, "She's your-"
The kid lifted a pinky.
"Wow, you brats are very perceptive," Naruto replied bashfully.
What? What was th-! Sakura suddenly realized what the little creep was implying. She reacted on no sleep, frayed nerves, and confusion.
"I am not your girlfriend!"
She punched him, sending him into a wall. And she felt very satisfied; she was strong enough to do that at least, if only she had a chance to show it on the battlefield. This was so frustrating!
"How dare you!" the kid yelled, running to a limp and bleeding Naruto.
Sakura was suddenly ashamed. Why did she have to punch him so hard? He was only kidding around.
"You ugly bitch!" the kid continued.
She snapped again, her sympathy vanishing. Her fuse was a lot shorter than she thought today. She swung her arm back and hit the kid, sending him flying into Naruto. He slumped into a sitting position.
"Ouch, damn that ugly, huge forehead. Is that really a girl, bro?" he asked, glaring up at Sakura.
Sakura, who had managed to start walking away, froze. He said the one thing that would completely get to her; God damn it.
"You're dead!" she yelled, turning on her heel to chase after him.
Wrath…all this anger was from her brief contact with the dagger. But it felt so good to be angry, so cleansing. Even when she saw the two foreigners standing in the way of her rampage, she couldn't stop being angry. She was just so furious. Then the kid ran, unseeing, into the male foreigner while fleeing from her.
"Oww…that hurt you little piece of shit!" the foreigner yelled.
The boy was older than her with odd paintings on his face. From his clothes and headband he was from Sand. He carried an odd wrapped object on his back, roughly the size of a child. When she saw the tuft of hair poking out at the top she wondered briefly if it really was a dead child.
A girl stood next to him, looking down with an exasperated expression at the kid. Her hair was blonde, tied in four parts, two on the lower part of her head and two on the top. On her back was a large fan and she wore a short kimono.
The boy Sakura had been chasing was lifted into the air by the front of his shirt despite his attempts to free himself.
"Don't, we'll get yelled at," the girl cautioned, only to be ignored by the guy.
"Hey fatass, let go of him!" Naruto yelled, stopping next to Sakura.
Sakura ignored the danger signs going off in her head, and strode recklessly up to the guy, gripping the hand holding Naruto's playmate up.
"You asshole, let him go," she said lowly to him, not looking away from his incredulous gaze.
Sakura had found someone to let her frustration out on and was not going to miss this chance.
"Do you really want to start a fight with a ninja from the village you're visiting? You could get in a lot of trouble," Sakura's voice had taken on Wrath's edge.
The Sand ninja glared down at her, considering, his mouth turning up into a grin.
"I have time to play with you until the boss comes. Can you back up your words?"
"Bastard!" Naruto began to run toward them but tripped and sprawled to the ground before he got very close.
Sakura was surprised but covered it with a scowl.
"Oh, leaf genin are weak," the foreigner said snidely, staring down at Naruto.
Sakura moved quicker than she ever had before and a kunai was pointed at the Sand ninja's neck, her eyes flashing.
"Say that again, I dare you," she taunted, pushing harder for a fight.
"Konohamaru-kun! Konohamaru-chan!" the two other kids yelled, finally catching up.
So that was the brat's name. The sand ninja's grip on Konohamaru tightened around the kid's neck and the kid shook from the pain of it.
"Hey you fat pig! Let him go! Fatass! Idoit!" Naruto yelled, shooting off random insults behind her.
"Naruto, shut the hell up and don't get involved," Sakura growled, feeling wires wrapping around her body. She could see the sand ninja's other hand twitch and the ropes tightened. She knew she was stuck; it didn't matter.
"Basically, I hate midgets, especially young ones that are rude. Makes me want to kill them," the sand ninja said, getting annoyed.
"Ugh!" Konohamaru groaned.
"Oh well, I'm not involved," the other sand-nin sighed, closing her eyes.
"I'll take care of the kid first," his eyes slid over to Sakura's glaring form, "You're next."
"I don't like to wait!" with a substitution jutsu, Sakura got out of the ropes, replacing Konohamaru's in the sand-nin's grip, his punch headed towards her instead of the helpless little kid.
"Hey!" Naruto gasped out, as Sakura braced for the impact; it was too late to block after all and maybe the pain would help clear her head she thought optimistically.
It never came. A rock smashed into the sand ninja's hand with enough force to change its direction. Looking to the source of the throw she saw Sasuke, perched in a nearby tree. He gave her an inquisitive glance then turned his look to the foreigners.
"What are you bastards doing in our village?" he asked cuttingly.
Sakura frowned, feeling a quick burst of anger toward Sasuke. She gasped; why? She was angry at even him!
"Sasuke-kun…" she murmured, having landed swiftly on her feet when the sand-nin was forced to let go.
Realizing Konohamaru was still wrapped in the strings that had originally been for her, Sakura lashed out with her foot, connecting with the sand-nin's other hand. He grunted and was forced to lose control of some sort of chakra string.
"Ah, another guy who pisses me off," the sand-nin mumbled, rubbing the bruises already showing on his hands.
"Get lost," Sasuke replied coolly.
Sakura glared, at what she didn't know. Her opportunity had been lost to Sasuke who, once again, felt the need to take the lead.
"Hey punk, get down here and face me!" the sand ninja yelled, curling his hands into fists.
"No need, you can fight me instead," Sakura growled, moving to stand in front of the tree Sasuke was lounging in.
"Sakura? What's up with you?" Naruto called out, a little confused by the quick series of events.
She could see Sasuke giving her another questioning glance.
The sand ninja glared, "I hate show-offs like you the most."
He started to loosen the tie holding of the object on his back.
"Hey, you're even going to use Karasu?" the girl asked, annoyed and walking closer.
"Kankuro, stop it," came a deep threatening voice from the tree Sasuke was in.
That voice! Sakura glanced behind her to see a figure standing upside down on a branch next to Sasuke's. It sounded just like Wrath! She gasped and took a step back. I-it couldn't be… could it? Could the voice have manifested somehow outside of the blade? Her breathing came faster and she began to panic until she noticed more about the person attached to the voice.
He was a kid, like the Sand-nin, with red hair, deep green eyes, no eyebrows, and a tattoo on the left side of his forehead. He glared at the first sand ninja.
"You're embarrassing our village," he said lowly.
Sakura nearly sighed with relief then stopped abruptly. She felt this sense of foreboding. This kid was not normal.
"Losing yourself in a fight… how pathetic. Why do you think we came to the leaf village?" he continued.
"Listen Gaara, they started it and…" the first sand ninja pleaded, all bravado gone.
Sakura narrowed her eyes, why did the obviously older sand ninja acting so fearful towards this new guy…this Gaara? It didn't make sense.
"Shut up. I will kill you," Gaara said seriously, no look of humor on his face.
Sakura froze at the killing intent in his voice…toward his own teammate?! Who was this guy?
Kankuro visibly shook, sweat dripping down his face.
"Ok, I'm sorry," he apologized, looking to the ground.
The girl also pitched in, "I'm also sorry, really sorry."
"Sorry to you guys," Gaara said, turning to Sasuke.
Sakura again felt a stab of anger, but tried her best to control it. She merely scowled up at Gaara who transported down from the tree and in between his two teammates.
"It looks like we came here too early, but we didn't come here to play around," he said, addressing them.
"I-I know that," Kankuro, stuttered fearfully.
"Let's go," Garra ordered, turning.
Sakura frowned; they were leaving, just like that? She wanted a fight to satisfy her increasing anger. This stale confrontation just left her feeling unsatisfied.
"Wait a sec!" she called out, stepping forward.
Gaara turned and answered for his team, "What?"
"You're from the Hidden village of Sand… so why are you here? And I'll need to see your passports. If you don't have them I may not be able to let you leave."
Gaara considered her with an appraising glance but didn't bother to answer.
"Talk about clueless don't you know anything? Here's my pass. We are from hidden in the sand and we are here for the chuunin exams," the girl answered with a haughty look.
"I thought it might be that," Sakura said while quickly glancing over the pass.
"Chuunin exams?" Naruto asked dumbly.
"It's-" Sakura knew the girl was about to go off on an endless rant and stopped her mid sentence.
"Don't be such a dumb ass, Naruto."
"But I really don't know!" he whined.
"And I don't care; ask sensei if you really want to know. This is a waste of time," she replied tersely, frustrated.
"Hey he asked a question, let me finish!" the girl sand ninja yelled, cutting into their conversation.
Sakura shot her a scathing look, "No."
Sasuke jumped from the tree, "Hey, you. What's your name?"
"Huh? You mean me?" the girl exclaimed, turning away from Sakura, her eyes sparkling.
Sakura knew that look, she wore it every day; the fan girl look.
"No, the one with the gourd," Sasuke interjected, sending the sand-girl into an embarrassed silence. Really, she was, two- three years older than Sasuke! Her taste in guys was bad.
You fell in love with him, chaa!Her inner said, making Sakura frown. Love just seemed so… pointless right now. She glanced at Sasuke and still felt that weird warm feeling whenever she saw him. Sakura shoved the feeling roughly to the side and returned to studying the Sand team.
"Gaara, of the desert," Gaara answered after a short pause, "I am also interested in your name."
"It's Uchiha Sasuke," he said with a superior look that sent another stab of anger through Sakura's gut.
Gaara's gaze slid from Sasuke to Sakura, who was considering him with a destructive glare.
She frowned, shaking her head.
"It doesn't matter," Sakura muttered, turning away and crossing her arms together, 'I'll be dead soon anyways,' she thought to herself.
"What about me huh!!" Naruto yelled, pointing to his chest.
"Not interested, come on lets go," Gaara turned, with one last unreadable look unseen by Sakura, and he and his team jumped away, blurring with the speed.
Sakura was already leaving, too worried about what was waiting for her at home to notice the three sets of eyes watching her team.
In case you didn't catch it, the time for this is before the chuunin exams and right after the Land of the Waves mission. The main point of this story is to turn Sakura from her regular not so nice self into someone a little stronger and more mature (I hope, I'm almost making her too emotional and angsty). Review if you want to say anything!