Expectations of Development

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Chapter 1: Plans don't survive reality

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Disclaimer: I'm on here, what more do you want?

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Shaking slightly in terror Sakura carefully watched Zabusa. How the hell did this happen? She was a genin! Useless, weak and absolutely unable to fight a jonin class ninja like Zabusa.

This should be an easy escort mission, maybe beat up some weak bandits, but most likely you should only bore yourself to death.

But no, Naruto had to be noble and stupid. And Sasuke had to proof that he wasn't scared either.

Idiots, the both of them.

Of course, she couldn't have said anything. Well she could, but she needed every scrap of respect she could get from them if she wanted to stay on the team. Wasn't hard with Naruto, but Sasuke...

If she weren't so terrified she would sigh in exasperation.

Now if anybody would ask her, they should be running in terror. Zabusa was busy keeping Kakashi imprisoned, his clones while strong probably couldn't take out all three of them, so they should be able to make a clear getaway.

Except that once Zabusa didn't have to worry about them, he would kill Kakashi and then go after them.

Damn.

She didn't sign up to end like this! They promised a few years of relatively easy work in the recruitment package. Well ok they didn't, but it was implied! No killing anybody till after the first year, or making chunin. Whichever came first.

And now this. The first mission outside of Konoha and they faced a psychotic mass murderer. If they survived this she would kill Tazuna herself!

Naruto broke the stalemate. Suddenly he charged Zabusa's water clone.

"Naruto!" She heard herself scream desperately and closed her eyes. She didn't want to see the idiot die.

The sounds of somebody beating the shit out of somebody else probably Naruto, reached her ears, making the closed eyes useless.

So she opened them again, Naruto groaned, getting back on his feet. The clone must have kicked him back to them, after beating him around a bit. Going by his new bruises.

She felt the urge to add to the bruises, what he did was so incredibly stupid an suicidal...

She stared at Naruto's forehead protector, he had actually managed to retrieve it. How he did it, she had no idea, but he did.

"Sasuke," he said, grinning wildly. "I've got a plan."

Sakura could only stare stupidly as Sasuke nodded. They were actually going to try and fight!

Were they insane? Did they have any idea... well no probably not, though admittedly they also had little choice. Do or die. That were the only choices they had.

She watched, as Sasuke threw his giant shuriken, watched as Zabusa easily evaded it, and the one following in the shadow of the first.

And suddenly Naruto replaced the first shuriken behind Zabusa.

Alright, so maybe only one of them actually was on the genin level, she knew Sasuke was about as good as a veteran genin, obsessive like he was. But Naruto apparently did have a few hidden, or not so hidden, talents as well.

She almost grinned, that meant she could improve in her own time, and let them carry her. For now at least. She should be able to enjoy what little remained of her childhood for a bit longer.

Naruto finished the impressive combo, he and Sasuke had apparently made up without words, by throwing a kunai at Zabusa, forcing him to release Kakashi.

That ended the fight. And Kakashi revealed his sharingan.

Sakura faked surprise quite well in her opinion. That Sasuke actually showed surprised, his eyes were wide like saucers. Just confirmed to her, that he had no idea what he was doing.

But, considering how easily the situation had gone out of control, neither did she. Once this was over with she would have to find a way to avoid missions liable to go wrong quite as catastrophic as this one. At least until she became a chunin. Then those kind of missions would be fine. But not earlier!

Watching Kakashi fight Zabusa... wow, what a display of ninjutsu, she briefly felt jealousy rising, but she pushed it down again. Kakashi had paid for that skill, paid for it in blood and misery and loss. If she never paid that price, she would be glad for whatever level of skill she managed to accumulate.

When the foreign ninja showed up she didn't say anything, Kakashi kept on his feet by willpower alone. And if the ninja thought he was caught... well they would make ugly corpses.

--o--

So, to recap. Kakashi taught them tree walking, something Sakura had down in about half an hour, the idiots... err her teammates, had taken a day or two to do it. If Kakashi had actually wanted her to improve he would have kept her going up that three to get some stamina.

Seeing as she didn't plan to improve much yet and had already decided to keep out of the fighting she didn't complain when he send her to protect Tazuna.

She had to say, the fight that happened when Zabusa showed up was... well she wanted to say as awesome as the first battle, but it was really just terrifying. Especially since she couldn't see anything that was going on in the mist Zabusa summoned.

Once the mist dissipated though, she could see that Kakashi had Zabusa well in hand. Sadly the same couldn't be said about Sasuke and the other ninja, Haku, Zabusa called him.

Though if she wasn't mistaken Naruto had shown up at some point. She felt a brief spike of chakra at least.

She had stayed at Tazuna's side, pretty much doing nothing, as he wasn't of any interest to Zabusa or his underling, as long as her teammates were still alive.

She looked at the cage of ice, surrounding Sasuke, straining to make out anything. But she couldn't, she wasn't even sure if she wanted to. If the idiot died... she didn't spend that much time running after him to lose him like this. He couldn't die. And Naruto...

The ice burst, Haku came flying through one of his mirrors in a cascade of glittering ice. It was strangely beautiful, seeing the body fly, surrounded by fragments of ice.

Naruto followed, an animal-like snarl on his face. His chakra was wild, raw, evil. Sakura didn't want to know what that meant, not yet. She hoped he didn't remember what he was doing, berserkers seldom did, at least she hoped they didn't. It was better that way, to remain innocent at least in some fashion.

Haku's mask cracked and revealed a pretty face. Sakura nearly gaped, but one look at his eyes and any thoughts of jealousy disappeared. Haku already lost her innocence. It was like looking into the future, that was her fate, that empty look.

Shaking she looked for Sasuke, where was he? And Tazuna, she had to protect Tazuna.

Naruto, she noticed, stopped his attack on Haku. Confused if she had to guess. Good, he wouldn't kill her then. Looking at the dome she noticed that it had melted, or did it shatter when Haku lost concentration? It didn't matter, Sasuke... Sasuke was...

She looked at Tazuna, eyes wide, wordlessly begging him. He nodded and she was off.

Skidding she reached Sasuke's side. "Please be alright, please be alright..." she muttered, as a trembling hand searched for any sign of life.

She found nothing. Again, her hand searched, for a pulse, for breath.

Again she didn't find anything.

She checked again, faster this time. Her hand almost ripped one of the senbon loose. Still, she found nothing.

She noticed some water on Sasuke's face, odd had it started raining? Oh just her own tears, silly really. The dead didn't need tears, they didn't care. And for the living tears were useless as well, just a distraction. But maybe... maybe she needed this, it was her own fault after all.

Because she refused to do what was necessary. She knew she could have done something, she had carefully looked at it all. Analyzed a thousand different battles, knew the weaknesses of most ninjutsu users, genjustsu users even taijutsu was an open book to her. But she refused to use that information.

They were genin! They weren't supposed to kill. Not yet. Not on their first real mission. They were supposed to not suffer that kind of mental trauma yet.

Wallowing in self pity she barely noticed what was going on around her. Haku was on the ground, Zabusa wasn't looking good either, so thy won. And it only cost them a teammate.

She barely managed to turn the laughter that threatened to escape into a sob, it wouldn't do to have her team, what was left of it, think she found this funny. Even if she did, on some weird level.

More people, and they wanted to fight. Wanted to kill. Looking at Sasuke's face she couldn't help it, she smiled. So that was it then? This was how she would...

Zabusa said something to Naruto, she couldn't make it out, over the pounding of her heart. Naruto threw him a kunai, what the hell? He was the reason Sasuke was dead! He was the reason she would...

He charged, charged the men who wanted to kill them. She stared in bafflement. What the hell just happened?

Wow watch him tear through them. And with only a kunai. There were worse ways to go she supposed. Watching the head of that little guy, the boss fly was somewhat cathartic, meant she wouldn't have to...

Zabusa dropped, his mission accomplished.

Sadly the rest of the horde didn't take the message. She slowly pushed herself up, away from Sasuke, readying herself.

So, it was time...

Naruto created a horde of shadow clones. Kakashi didn't, he used ordinary ones. Should fool the thugs though. Sakura fingered a little vial she carried around since shortly before they went on this mission. She spend most of her wages on it too. It was comforting, knowing it was there. Even as she hated to think about using it.

Where did that bolt come from? It was just there, sticking from the bridge in front of the bandits. Turning around she saw Inari, behind him his whole village stood, the male half at least. Makeshift weapons in hand, ready to defend their homes.

She barely dared hope, would it be enough?

She looked back, at the thugs. And watched in relive as they broke and ran away. She wouldn't have to...

She could have kissed Inari. Well actually she was willing to do nearly everything he asked, but he didn't need to know that, and she kinda doubted he would ask even if he did.

Still this battle wasn't without loss. She stumbled back to Sasuke, and fell to her knees again, cradling him.

She couldn't stop herself, no matter how much she wanted to. Out of the corner of her eyes she could see Naruto, looking as if he wanted to cry too, as he watched her, but he didn't come closer. Probably guilty, the idiot. Didn't he know that this was what they signed up for? A quick death on the battlefield?

Granted, she had hoped to go on easy mission for a while first. But really it was a... she felt a twitch from the corpse she was holding.

She stopped moving, she stopped crying, she stopped breathing. There! Another twitch. And a groan.

Haku! He could fake Zabusa's death, he could do the same for Sasuke.

She sobbed again, relive filling her heart.

"Sakura," Sasuke coughed, "You are heavy."

She laughed at that, laughed and cried, and if her relief was mostly for her own innocence, for her own hearth? Well nobody needed to know that.

--o--

This had to be a joke, Sakura thought. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry, a situation she had become sadly familiar with lately.

First they were up against Orochimaru, one of the freaking Sannin! That obviously didn't go well at all.

And now these three sound genin had shown up. Rambling about how they would kill Sasuke or some such.

She knew she shouldn't have agreed to enter the exams. What about her year of easing into ninja life? What about not having to kill anybody?

She eyed the three warily, for now they seemed content to taunt her, rambling on how weak she was.

Though they did slowly edge closer.

"Wha- what do yo..." She hiccuped, to look strong now would be the worst mistake she could make. She needed them close. Tears were running down her face she noted. Curiously she didn't feel afraid. Hmm actually she didn't feel anger either, or excitement. No nervousness, no shaking, besides what she forced her limbs to do. Still, she cried... and she had no idea why exactly.

One of them laughed. "We already said that didn't we? We are here to kill Sasuke. If we get to kill you and the other brat as well... hey bonus."

Huh, nice lead in, she had been afraid she would have to come up with some spiel about offering herself for Sasuke... that probably wouldn't have gone over too easy.

"Wha- wha-what? No!" She screamed, voice wavering and shrill. "Please, please! I..." she paused, seeking the eyes of the boys. "I... I'll do anything." She almost whispered. "Just please don't kill me."

The boys looked at each other, an ugly grin spread on their face. The girl rolled her eyes. "We don't have time for this." She muttered, even as a cruel grin did steal on her face.

"Aww why not? Not as if he will wake up anytime soon, if at all." The other boy said, leering at Sakura. Who sniffled, sobs wracking her body.

"Hehe, if you really mean it then strip already!" He commanded.

Sakura stared at him, eyes growing wide in what she hoped would be interpreted as terror.

She always had been good at faking her expressions. Well after she found out about the importance of hiding your emotions at least.

Some said not feeling anything was the most important skill a ninja could have. Sakura found that hiding your emotions, and suppressing them, to deal with later worked much better.

And in school, not calling your teacher an idiot, because he just didn't have any idea what kind of bullshit he told them... well that skill she found invaluable.

"Wha? Strip?" She stuttered, forcing her whole body to shake.

The first boy sighed. "She's useless even at being a whore." he sneered. "Yes strip, remove your clothes." He stepped directly in front of her and punched her, hard.

Sakura fell over, stars appearing in front of her vision. She couldn't let them hit her too often, she wouldn't be able to... better not think about it, she could feel her emotions surge to the top just thinking about it.

She had to suppress it all, until she had finished this.

"Yes..." She mumbled, as she struggled feebly with her clothes, pausing a few seconds when her trembling fingers reached her belt.

She noticed that the other boy also had stepped close to her. The girl watched them, a sadistic grin on her face. However, she didn't come closer. Instead she watched the surrounding area. Not that Sakura had suspected her to be interested in... that.

"Man her tits are tiny." One of them complained, as he began to grope her.

She closed her eyes, this was it then, she took a deep breath.

She could hear the other one shrug, as he ripped her top off. "Eh we are just gonna have some fun with her, we aren't gonna marry her or anything."

Sakura shuddered, as she felt their hands roaming over her body. Her own hand slid down slightly.

What was going to happen was painful. Painful and yet... exiting.

She exhaled, opened her eyes and looked at her rapists.

--o--

Sakura tended to the fire in front of her. Staring into the flames without moving a muscle. She had washed off most of the blood. There hadn't been much. Barely anything really. Most of it came from the girl's, involvement. The other fluids came from the boys... quite disgusting really, and much harder to wash off.

Getting the stink out had been the hardest problem. Mending her clothes had been far easier. Even if the result hadn't been perfect.

She didn't sigh, it wouldn't help. She had removed any evidence she found, she hadn't felt anything doing it. Some small part of her hoped that would change. Some part of her hoped it wouldn't. She didn't know which part to root for.

Empty eyes stared into the fire, what disgusted her the most was her own excitement, the exhilaration, the pure euphoria, the... pleasure.

Was that really her? Did she really enjoy herself that much? Doing that? She didn't shudder, even though she wanted to. She just couldn't.

Indifferently she poked the fire.

Behind her somebody groaned.

She turned around and watched as Naruto slowly pushed himself up, impressive, the drug she gave him should have kept him out for around an hour longer. But that was Naruto for you. Energy through the roof and all.

She ladled some stew from the pot over the fire into a bowl and handed it to Naruto.

"Here." She said, in a monotone, "You've been out for a while, you need some food."

Naruto blinked and looked around. "Huh? Where are we?" He asked, accepting the bowl.

She shrugged. We were attacked by some weird genin from grass, don't you remember?"

He nodded, as he ate the stew. "Hmm yeah, he did something weird to..." He paused, as he looked at his stomach. "Well he did something weird to me. And... and he bit Sasuke! Gross."

Sakura nodded, as she turned back to the fire.

Naruto sat down next to her. "Where is the bastard anyways?" He asked.

She shrugged and pointed back into the direction from where he came. "He's still out of it. Whatever the freak did to him, it knocked him out good." Though she was pretty sure, that what kept Sasuke down at the moment was the sleeping drug she administered earlier.

She really didn't want them to know what had happened. And them watching her clean up her mess would have led to awkward questions.

Naruto grinned nastily. "Ha! See I'm already up and he's still out of it. So who's the better ninja?"

Sakura nodded absently. "If you say so Naruto." She said.

Naruto blinked, and looked at her. "Err did you just agree with me Sakura?"

She didn't bother looking at him. "No, that was sarcasm." She stated flatly.

"Oh..." He muttered, then continued to eat his rabid and ground soldier pill, stew. Nothing better to get the sleeping drug out of your system really.

Naruto was through his third bowl before Sasuke stirred. He didn't groan, he had trained too much to make that mistake. He might have noticed the drugs as well. However chances were he would blame it on Orochimaru, so Sakura didn't worry much about it.

He stumbled to them, staring at the fire. "We shouldn't have a fire burning." He croaked, staring at Sakura as if she were stupid.

She looked at him, raising an eyebrow. "We are in a cave, I've hidden the entrance. Nobody will see the fire. If somebody does come in their vision will be hindered more by the fire than ours by the night." She explained, then handed him a bowl of rabid, pill stew.

Sasuke nodded and accepted the bowl. Hungrily he scarfed down the food, faster even than Naruto.

Sakura just continued to stare into the fire. Though she did notice that his face twitched every now and again. Probably pain from the weird seal. It pulsed in time with the twitches.

"What happened to your shirt?" He asked suddenly. Naruto looked up from his meal as well.

She looked at the mended tear in the shirt. "It got torn while I was hunting the rabid for the stew." She answered.

Sasuke sneered, but returned to his food. Such a caring teammate he was.

Naruto shrugged and did the same, oblivious as always.

She sighed. "We should hurry and get to the tower. You have been out for most of the day."

Twin shouts of "What? A day!" Came from the two of them.

She lifted an eyebrow. "Yes a day. We have two days left, luckily I got a heaven scroll from Lee, so we only need to get a new earth scroll."

"Wow you are awesome Sakura!" Naruto shouted.

Her eyes flickered to the entrance, she didn't know whether she hoped somebody would come in so they could take their scroll or not.

Sasuke grunted something that might be confirming Naruto's general opinion, probably just a grunt for more stew though.

She filled his bowl again.

"It shouldn't be too hard to get another scroll." Naruto muttered.

She nodded. Hopefully it wouldn't be too hard... or maybe it should be harder, she rubbed the bruise on her stomach, where one of the sound genin had hit her. It had been too easy that last time. Wasn't it supposed to be hard, your first time?

--o--

Kabuto stopped in the clearing. Somewhere around here Sasuke should be hidden. And somewhere around here Orochimaru's toys would have come upon team 7.

He noticed something sparkle on the ground. He frowned worriedly. He should have felt a powerful chakra spike, as soon as Sasuke entered the fight. But he had felt nothing, no brief spike and certainly no long one, indicating a drawn out battle. Hopefully the Uchiha hadn't died.

Waking up to his teammates in danger should have overwhelmed his mental defenses, what little remained of them and make him pull on the power the seal provided.

He touched the ground close to the sparkle. Hmm, it appeared he found the team from sound.

Neatly stacked side by side, hurriedly hidden beneath a pile of leaves. Only one a tiny sliver of a forehead protector remained uncovered. Maybe the wind?

Whoever did it probably didn't care much about somebody finding them, as long as nobody found them immediately.

He studied the corpses for a second. The boys were obviously poisoned, their exposed skin a sickly blue color, clothes stained with vomit. And only a shallow scratch as far as wounds went.

The girl, now she might have tried to fight back, though not for long, judging by the wounds in her legs and arms. Probably shocked to see her teammates die like that. The assailant disabled her ability to move and then slit her throat. The entire battle couldn't have lasted more than a minute.

They went down hard and fast. Probably lured close to the attacker somehow. A quick examination confirmed his suspicions. Close to the corpses somebody had dug a little ditch in the ground. He could smell vomit, but no blood. There were no signs of a struggle either. A bit farther away he found where Kin went down. The ground had been scuffed a bit, and here and there he could still smell bit of blood.

He frowned.

That meant Sasuke hadn't been tested, if he had activated the cursed seal, the clearing would be covered over and over with blood.

That of course left the question of who. Who had taken out the team? Maybe a grass genin? They were famous for their use of poison. One of the few villages who actually taught their genin to make them.

But, he looked closer at Kin's wounds and pulled out his kunai.

Glancing at her wounds and the kunai, the connection came easy.

The wounds had been made by a Konoha kunai. And really, only one ninja from Konoha would have a reason and the means to attack the sound team with deadly force.

He searched the clearing again, looking for a trail to follow.

Sakura Haruno had suddenly become interesting. He grinned from ear to ear. He might just have to revise his info cards.

--o--

Hey, I went over this and fixed a few things here and there. Hope that has improved the beginning a bit.