{A/n;; Disclaimer;if I owned Naruto, I wouldn't be writing fanfiction would I? :) The lack of dialogue in this Story, is only temporary, I assure you. For Sakura is certainly not the silent type. –S.S

In the dense fog she almost forgot the pungent smell that drifted through the air, tainting the vast wasteland of the swamp. The swamp located in Iwagakure was home to the Shingetsu no Hana, a rare medical herb that once soaked in tea could reactivate vision from even the most depleted eyes along with specialized medical treatment.

Tsunade had offered to send a whole team of ninja to just to retrieve a silly plant, but she had refused blatantly. She worked solo, and the money from this mission alone was far more enough to cover anything and everything that she would need for her future luxury vacation. After three constant years of eighteen hour shifts at the hospital, Sakura Haruno had physically and mentally changed.

Her jade eyes were guarded and she was often seen as unapproachable due to the bitter expression her face treacherously wore. The once short and spiky coral hair that had graced her 16 year old head, had lengthened again to the point of irritation. It was a bother at waist level, yet she couldn't bring her calloused fingers to cut the memories.

Instead she devolved a liking to tying it back into a long braid which fell neatly at her back. After 19 years of being a billboard she had finally grown into her forehead, with this she therefore lost her all her childhood insecurities.

Even her kunoichi attire had matured with her growing body, she wore a sleeveless white open coat that covered her neck that flowed at her waist, where she wore short black spandex and her medical belt which her held her wakizashi and her herbal remodies. The opened white coat housed the red Haruno clan sign intertwined with a brilliant scarlet half moon on her back and also displayed her newly matured bust which was covered with a strap of black spandex.

Knee-high black combat boots were laced with hidden powders, each with a unique property. Above her boots Sakura's hitai-ate was tied tautly to her thigh, along with her specialty kunai. The tips of all of her weapons were coated with nightshade and other deadly poisons along with her persona insignia, a crescent moon splattered with crimson blossoms.

Konoha's weakest kunoichi had grown into an elite ninja of Anbu classification, and was even recognized in the bingo book as the Aka noTsuki huntress of the land of fire. Sakura disliked the name, but she couldn't complain since it suited her, and installed fear into enemies of many villages. They believed that the Huntress killed her foes from the shadows with the rapid accuracy. Gossip was like wildfire, uncontrollable and easy to set.

Team Seven was stronger than ever, despite the lack of a certain Uchiha. Once Sakura had learned of Sai's manner of contrary speaking the two became very close. Through her gentle influence, he became well enough versed to hold a descent conversation for a shocking five minutes. Anything above that was treading water, as far as Sakura was concerned.

As for Naruto, their friendship fire was still kindled brightly even through the most desperate trials that had faced. He had become a jounin, and taught at the very same academy where they had first met. In his spare time, he was learning the ways of Hokagedom through Tsunade. He still was rambunctious and hyperactive, but that only endeared him even more to Sakura. She often found herself drain to his quality as a sun. Bright and cheerful simply described Naruto in every way.

This mission was far different from her usual assignation assignments yet this time it was personal. Team Seven's leader Hatake Kakashi eyesight was failing under the strain of the Sharingan. The plant she was sent for, only opened under the full moon's waxing glow, and only then could it be found and harvested properly.

She grew impatient as the fog continued to hide the glowing moon in a dark veil. When the last remnants of fog dispersed from view, she continued her search, her footing precautious on the muddy slops of the swamp which the flower favored. Grimacing she glanced at her mud caked boots in distaste, her concentration diverted momentarily at a distant silvery light.

Lightly she pounded the air with victory as she eased herself over to the luminous flower, her black gloved finger plucking the flower with deliberate delicacy. After plucking a half dozen, a bitter feeling formed in her stomach, which she pushed away as she struggled to maintain her balance on the moss ridge where the last flower she needed was. At the slight prickle of her nape hairs, that balance faltered, sending her tumbling down into the murky marsh water. Her infuuriated eyes swept the expanse the swamp searching for a presence, yet to no avail.

Thankfully the water was shallow, and she shielded the fragile flowers from harm using her body as a barrier. In a doglike like fashion she shook violently to rid her clothes of the grime, yet she was still filthy. Hands cradling her prize she returned to her hotel in Iwagakure to refresh and relax. Her suite was luxurious in state suited for a princess. And at that moment Sakura couldn't bring herself to feel like a princess.

She had finished her assignment three days early and was looking forward to unwinding, till her deadline came. Her stomach grumbled warily at the hotel's special of leafy paradise, letting her mind wander, the lettuce almost tasted like beef, but not quite enough to satisfy. After a revitalizing shower, she settled down on her comfy futon in bliss.

Her weary eyes had barely been shut we felt a light tingling in her limbs. It was familiar but unwelcome at the moment. She wanted to simply ignore it, but the tingling began to burn, and sighing heavily she grabbed her summoning scroll. After allowing a small trickle of her blood to flow, she formed the necessary hand seals and pulled her bloodied finger across the summoning scroll. Materializing from the red smoke was her furry familiar Kappa. The cat appeared untroubled at the world as he licked his black paws leisurely. His name suited his squashed face, and beady yellow eyes, and even his temperament.

When Tsunade suggest Sakura receive a summon famailar, it took days to decide. Everyone was more than willing to lend a hand in her, even Sai. Tsunade expected Sakura to follow her footsteps of slugdom, but Sakura found slugs distasteful and downright gross. Naruto has cheekily suggested foxes, for their deviousness, yet she had wanted her summon to reflect herself. Cats were independent, sleek, graceful, and tough. Everything she longed to be in her ideal world.

Sakura was patient as Kappa completed his grooming, and with one sentence ended her miniature vacation.

"Urgent mission request in Amegakure, we leave tonight." Sakura knew cats couldn't really grin, but Kappa radiated smugness from every fiber of his fur. She was tempted to douse him with water, but bettered herself against it. His glasslike eyes took in her worry with mild interest. The pit of worry in her stomach only continued to increase, as the cat prolonged the most ominous bit till the end, "Of course you should maybe hear it from, that dog filth, because, this mission will be your last." And with that apprehension bubbled over in her stomach to anger as she smashed a nearby vase with legendary strength.

So maybe Sakura Haruno hadn't changed that much, but her life began a perpetual spiral down memory lane.

{-A/n;;Oh Jeebus, I'm starving, I live on reviews. Feed me? :D

apprehension