Well, I decided to a different kind of story, without vampires and powers and all that jazz. I'm also going to try and not make this in first person, but if it starts to sound a little funky, then please tell me and I'll go back and see if I can fix it.
No Longer Weak
The air was warm and humid as Sakura exited her apartment building and headed down the street. The laughter of little kids and parents calling for their kids rang in her ears as she passed the Academy, bringing a smile to her face.
But the smile was bittersweet, the only outward sign that the memories still haunted her and the betrayal still stung. At the age of 22 Sakura still felt the sting in her chest whenever she thought about how Sasuke had left the village and betrayed their team.
Stop it, don't go there again. Sakura scolded herself. He had left, that was that. And she would never forgive him, even if Naruto had never hated him in the first place. When he had asked her years ago to help him retrieve Sasuke, she had said yes with determination and courage. Then things had gone downhill fast. She had gotten injured, and had lost hope, among other things, one being her love for Sasuke.
Even after he had left he still hurt people, most importantly Naruto and herself, and for that she now hated him with a passion far greater than her old love.
The tower cast a shadow over Sakura and offered her a break from the burning sun, breaking her from her thoughts. Shizune greeted her as she walked in and led her up to Tsunade's office, not that Sakura didn't already know where it was.
After Sasuke left, Sakura had worked her ass off with the help of Tsunade's skills. Without Tsunade, Sakura wouldn't be where she was today. She wouldn't be the renown medic nin that she was now, with people coming from all over to get her medical help. She wouldn't be respected for her skills, both on missions and in the hospital.
"Finally, I thought you might have gotten lost." Sakura ignored her wise ass comment and took a seat in one of the chairs in front of Tsunade's desk.
"You sent for me?" When Sakura had been summoned to Tsunade's office this morning, she knew it had to be something important. Not only did Tsunade prefer to sleep in, most of the time at her desk, but she rarely summoned Sakura. Instead she usually just sent a file to her apartment.
"Straight to the point like always," Tsunade said with a frown on her face while pushing her chair back slightly from the desk and grabbing her bottle. "I need you to do a scouting mission."
Sakura nodded and smiled slightly. "What time do I leave?"
"We leave at noon," a voice answered from behind her. Sakura's shoulders stiffened, the only indication of her growing anger before she was out of her seat with her hands firmly on Tsunade's desk.
"We? Tsunade, it's a simple scouting mission, I don't need a babysitter!" Sakura shouted with rage. She should have known the moment she was summoned. Tsunade knew she would go on a rampage through the village if she had been told by a sheet of paper. And she had every right to because Tsunade was sending Kakashi with her to babysit her.
"Calm down Sakura," Tsunade ordered as she got up from her seat. The sunlight spilled through the window and lit her hair up like a golden halo. Her eyes held worry as she looked at Sakura. "We received a report that Team Hebi is near our border and that they have been there who knows how long. We believe that they are waiting for something, or someone."
"And you think that they're waiting for me? Sasuke left almost ten years ago without a backward glance, I doubt he could care less if I fell off the Hokage Tower this very moment and killed myself," Sakura retorted as she slowly calmed down. This was ridiculous, completely and insanely ridiculous. If he wanted her, he would have tried already. She had been out on a mission two weeks ago, alone might she add, and she had come back alive with only a few scratches.
"We don't know what they're waiting for and I refuse to let anyone go on a mission alone until we know what they want." Sakura sat down in the chair again, her head tilting slightly as Kakashi sat in the other chair.
"I can handle myself Tsunade, I'm—"
"I know you can, but I will not risk letting my best medic nin and pupil go out on her own just so she can save her pride," Tsunade scolded, her voice firm and commanding that Sakura just accept the conditions.
Sakura sat there for a moment, her head bowed. When she looked up, her face caught the rays of the sunlight and reflected back the sorrow. "I'm sorry Tsunade, I'll go on the mission with Kakashi without any complaint."
Tsunade smiled at her pupil. This was why she had chosen to train Sakura. She was determined, but knew when to stop the foolishness. And she definitely knew right from wrong, like fighting with Tsunade over something that was unnecessary.
"It's a simple scouting mission Sakura, just think of it as a vacation, just the two of us," Kakashi told her, his eye crinkling in amusement as her face screwed up in horror. The comment immediately broke the tension in the room.
"You're crazy Kakashi if you think I'd ever go on a vacation with you willingly." Kakashi chuckled, his feelings clearly not hurt.
"Come on Sakura, you're hurting my feelings. Naruto wouldn't hesitate to go on a vacation with me," he replied while he lifted his crossed feet and rested them on Tsunade's desk. She gave him a deadly glare, but he ignored it.
"Naruto has also gotten hit in the head way too many times, of course he'd go with you," Sakura retorted with a grin. She enjoyed their bicker, even if most of the time it involved a perverted comment from Kakashi.
"Well that's not my fault is it?" Sakura broke out in laughter. She should have felt guilty for his accusing tone, but she knew it was all just a joke.
"It's his fault for not keeping up during our sparring," Sakura admitted with a shrug of her shoulders. Her and Naruto sparred everyday, or every other day when she had a double shift at the hospital. It would be an understatement to say that she had improved. More often than not, Naruto found himself with a kunai at his throat, a katana inches from his face, or a bruise the size of her fist on his head.
They were evenly matched, when Naruto wasn't using his strength and body against her. She understood now why he ate so much ramen. It was so he could weigh a ton so when he landed on her, she couldn't get him off her. And it worked too.
Tsunade pulled out something from a drawer and spread it out on the desk. "Okay back to business. This is a map of our border, and this is where Team Hebi was reported to be located. I want you to make a wide, and by wide I mean very wide, arc around that area. We don't have enough ANBU to send out to capture them, and I doubt we would be very successful without a large number of casualties."
"Are you sure they are located there?" Sakura questioned while Kakashi got out of his chair and examined the map. She remained in her chair; she knew the border by heart considering she frequently crossed it into other village's lands.
"We have had multiple reports of them in that area, so I'm very certain they are there. You will be scouting an area that might hold Orochimaru's base, but I beg you not to do anything rash. If you do find anything, come back immediately and report it so that I can send out a larger team to search out and destroy whatever you find." Tsunade looked straight at Sakura, but she ignored the warning.
A couple years ago she had been sent on a scouting mission because there were reports that a group of rogue ninjas were pretending to be Sound and causing mayhem. Sakura had been sent out to see if the rogue ninjas' location was accurate because they had been reported in multiple places.
When she got there, she had waited until nightfall then attacked them, clearly defying orders and endangering herself. It wasn't like she couldn't take them on, but one of them had gotten lucky and landed a hit. She had barely made it back, a wound to her shoulder causing her to lose so much blood that she was in the hospital for a week.
After a long lecture and scolding, Sakura had realized that that was all it took, one opening and she could be dead. Ever since then, whenever she was sent on scouting missions she was reminded to only scout, not attack.
"I'll let you guys leave so you can pack," Tsunade told them while she folded up the map and handed it to Kakashi. "Be careful and I expect to see you both in a week."
After they left Tsunade sat heavily in her chair with a sigh. She hoped Sakura didn't go too far and seek out Sasuke, but then again Sakura wanted to get away from Sasuke, not closer.
"Should we make camp before we cross the border and wait until the next morning, or should we cross the border and then set camp?" Sakura asked Kakashi as they exited the Hokage Tower. It was almost eleven in the morning, leaving them with a little over an hour to pack and meet up at the entrance.
"Before we cross the border would be better and safer. Sasuke wouldn't dare cross the border and come that close to Konoha, and the next day we'll have all day to loop around them and get back on track." Kakashi placed the map in one of his pockets and waved as he turned off towards his home.
Sakura sighed and made her way home quickly. She had to pack then head down to the sparring ground to tell Naruto that they wouldn't be able to spar until she got back.
Her apartment was clean and tidy. It wasn't too big, and even though she could afford a bigger place with her pay, she preferred a small place. If her apartment was any bigger, it'd echo with the silence, and remind her of the family she didn't have, and loneliness she did have.
The packing only took a couple minutes, and putting on her ANBU clothes only took a second. Then Sakura was back outside and heading towards the sparring grounds. When she got closer she could faintly hear the grunts and clashes of metal, and the vibrations from explosions.
She didn't hesitate when walking onto the grounds. If anything got within a foot of her she'd know, and deflect it immediately.
"Sakura-chan!" Sakura heard his voice and sensed him racing towards her, his previous battle completely forgotten about. She laughed as she was suddenly scooped up in a bear hug, her feet leaving the ground. "Are you here to spar with us?"
Sakura shook her head and was suddenly out of his grip and holding a kunai inches from his back. She turned her head in the direction the kunai had come from and threw it back in that direction. The kunai disappeared into the trees with a whizzing sound.
"That was supposed to be payback for walking away from our fight, Ugly," Sai said as he came out of the trees, rotating the kunai between his fingers. "But I don't blame Dickless, he was losing."
"I was not, you're the one that almost got blown to little pieces!" Naruto retorted, his hands waving around in the air as he reenacted the explosion and Sai's 'supposed' girly scream when his pants caught on fire from it.
"It was a kage bunshin, not that you would know what that is." Sai pocketed the kunai and pulled out a scroll and paintbrush.
"I know what a kage bunshin is, I brought it back in style," Naruto puffed out his chest with pride. Sakura shook her head and poked his chest, deflating it instantly. "Ow Sakura-chan, that hurt!"
"Aw I'm sorry, you can have Hinata kiss it all better when you get home, along with all the other injuries you have." Sakura smiled at the thought of Hinata and Naruto together.
Naruto glared at her sarcasm, but it quickly turned to confusion as he saw her clothing and pack. "Are you going on a mission?"
"Yeah, I came by to tell you that you'll have a break from getting your butt handed to you." Sai chuckled in the background, earning a kunai an inch from his foot from Naruto.
"Is it a solo mission?" Naruto cringed when he saw her shoulders stiffen.
"No, Kakashi is going with me," Sakura sighed, forcing herself to remain calm. It wasn't that she didn't like Kakashi, it's just she was hurt by the fact that Tsunade still thought she couldn't go on a solo mission when the conditions were too risky. She could handle herself, she hadn't been trained by the best for nothing. And it didn't help that Tsunade was afraid Sasuke would do something to her. She could defend herself, and she didn't need a babysitter to make sure she didn't get hurt. "It's a scouting mission too."
"If it's just a scouting mission then why is Kakashi going with you?" Sakura gave a shaky exhale. If she told him, it could go either way. He could either get mad, or run straight to Tsunade and demand she do something to bring Sasuke back.
But he did neither when she told him why. He stayed eerily calm, and Sakura knew his face was most likely a void of emotion. Sakura was suddenly swept up in a hug so tight that she had trouble breathing.
"Be careful," he said softly in her ear, squeezing her even tighter for a moment then letting her go. "And if you run into him, kick his ass."
Sakura laughed. "I'll do even more damage than that, and with pleasure. Promise me you won't do anything crazy while I'm gone, okay Naruto?"
"I promise Sakura-chan. And promise me you won't do anything rash on the mission, it's just scouting, okay?" Sakura scowled at the ground. They'd never let go of that mission would they?
"I promise. Just scouting, that's all," Sakura said before she was cut off by another quick hug from Naruto.
"Is it free hug day?" Kakashi's voice came from behind Sakura. "If it is, I don't want any."
Naruto let go Sakura and quickly advanced towards Kakashi. "But it's free hug day Kakashi, you don't get a choice in whether you get one or not, and I say you're getting one."
Sakura laughed as Naruto ran after Kakashi with his arms wide open. Kakashi disappeared in a puff of smoke and reappeared besides Sakura, his pack on his shoulder.
"Ready?" Sakura nodded and said goodbye to Naruto and Sai.
Naruto watched her go, something in his gut telling him something was wrong. But then his stomach rumbled and he groaned in hunger.
"Come on Sai let's get some ramen, I'll buy, you pay!"
Two stories in two days, that's a new record! Hopefully this story will be easier to update.
So you all should know the drill by now you: click, opinionate, submit=happy Riddler-of-Words :) or click, flame, submit=happy Riddler-of-Words! Is it a keeper or does it need some work?
Sorry I had to say that. Happy Late Thanksgiving and now off to see New Moon again. What did everyone think of it? I personally am at a crossroad. I am Team Jacob in the movie and Team Edward in the book, so I guess I am Team Switz. Which team are you, or actually who is your favorite character?