A/N: So, due to all of the amazing Naruto fanfics that I've seen on here, I decided to try my hand at it. So welcome to my first Naruto fic ever. Hell yes I am nervous.

On a different note, this story strays from the manga around Chapter 450 before going into a timeskip as you'll see here soon. Also, I've tinkered with the geography of the manga a little bit. Originally, Konoha is more or less in the very center of Fire Country, here it'll be just a little closer to the sea that's due east from them. I don't think it's going to affect the story much, but I just wanted to let you guys know if there happen to be any die-hard (including me) fans reading this. I'll try to stick as close to canon as possible, but we all know that life tends to throw us some unexpected twists and turns along the way :D

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and let me know your thoughts!

xx LCF

Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me, if it did then Sasuke would've realized how stupid he's being and Sakura wouldn't have cried so much and would have returned to the image of bad-assery she was in the beginning of Shippuden. But I don't, so it sucks, but I still thank Kishi, 'cause if it weren't for him we wouldn't even be here in the first place.

Edit 7/23/11

Hey guys, just doing some maintenance here. Nothing too major, just correcting some grammar and adding/erasing parts that I felt were needed to make the chapter flow more smoothly. Let me know your thoughts!


Storm

Prologue


It was in the early hours of the morning when Sakura made her way to Tsunade's tent.

Most of the villagers and shinobi were in bed by then, everyone exhausted from the slow restoration of the village. Pain's attack had been devastating and completely demolished everything, and Sakura knew that if Tsunade-sama didn't wake soon that there were a few nations who were willing to strike during their moment of weakness. However, as imminent as that threat may be, Sakura's priority was to help Shizune with Tsunade-sama while she recuperated.

It was all she could do to make sure that her Shishou was stabilized and all of her vitals were checked out every few hours. A switch of an IV here, a little probing with chakra there, and she would open her medical texts and sit nearby the futon, reading up on the neurotic system to make sure that nothing was wrong with Tsunade's. It was all anyone was able to do, really. The moment Shizune and she had gotten a chance they had immediately worked on their Hokage and mentor, healing everything that needed to be and injecting several boosters to help with the severe chakra depletion she was suffering from. Despite this, however, Tsunade-sama remained in her comatose state and Shizune stated that she needed to rest. This didn't surprise Sakura in the slightest; after all it was completely natural seeing as Tsunade-sama had handed over almost all of her chakra to Katsuuyu in order to heal all of the villagers.

With the state that the village had been reduced to, and with Tsunade-sama out of the picture for the time being, the moment Naruto had defeated Pain there had been an emergency council meeting; a vote, to see who would take temporary title of Hokage until—if—Tsunade woke up. To Sakura and Naruto's dismay, Danzou had been elected, and by the Daimyo no less. Sakura couldn't help but think there was seriously something wrong if anyone thought that that man was fit enough to be village leader. Hell, even Kakashi had been better suited for office.

Sakura was lost in her thoughts as she approached the tent, when she suddenly paused in her tracks warily. The forest was eerily quiet, not a single sound filling the air; all was still. There were none of the few signs of ANBU, not even the tiniest flex of their chakra. It made Sakura knit her brows in worry that no one was guarding her mentor, considering how threatened she felt at that moment. Surely the highest skilled shinobi in their village would be able to feel it too? So where were the ANBU? There had been at least half-a-dozen stationed within the past hour; that much she could confirm. But try as she might, Sakura was unable to find their chakra signatures.

She frowned darkly as she drew a kunai for each hand. Something was not right, but before Sakura could deduce any form of theory, a flare of chakra within Tsunade's tent caught her attention. Sprinting, Sakura wrenched open the flap not to find Tsunade coming to, but instead to see a cloaked figure with a porcelain mask hovering above her prone form.

The Root member's kunai was elevated and ready to strike the unconscious woman beneath him. Red invaded Sakura's vision and before she could stop herself, she had already rushed forward with a surge of her own chakra and successfully connected the heel of her foot to the side of the Root's skull.

A sickening crack filled the air as she crushed his skull and he was instantly dead. As he fell five more were immediately upon her, weapons at the ready. They attacked without warning but Sakura was quick on her feet, dodging and returning blows with each of them, her brain trying to keep track of all of them at once while simultaneously keeping an eye on the defenseless woman on the cot. As another approached Tsunade, Sakura rushed him, fist raised and she connected with open air. Swinging her foot out, she pivoted sharply in a semi-circle and didn't waste a second in unleashing her weapons.

A wave of senbon cascaded toward her from her right, aimed right at Tsunade, and she dove into the line of fire, feeling tiny bursts of pain as they embedded themselves into her skin. Sakura leapt, yanking the senbon out of her in the process, and aimed a kick right at the center of their group. The Root members vanished in a blur, and without a moment's hesitation she sprinted from the tent and weaved a complex genjutsu around it for protection. She threw a kunai with an explosive tag attached at a tree several meters from the campsite that would detonate in one minute, alerting anyone within thirty yards of Tsunade-sama of danger. With that reassuring thought in mind, Sakura made east, hoping to draw out her pursuers.

The Root members shadowed her movements, tracking her east as wave after wave of weapons came at her. Sakura leapt from branch to branch at random, hoping to shake them off and guiding them as far from her Shishou as she could and closer to where she knew her fellow shinobi would be. As she neared the open field however, something blunt and with incredible force sent her falling. Grabbing hold of a small tree, she pivoted in midair and uprooted it before launching it at them. The masked nin scattered but before she could take a breath one was upon her. Pushing off against a tree, she flew straight towards her assailant and landed a chakra-charged punch on his chest.

Panting heavily as she took cover, a blast rang clear through the air and Sakura could feel the beginnings of fatigue in her system and silently prayed that she had packed her chakra-boosting injections. But as tired as she was, there was no helping the raging fire that had taken place in her heart at that moment.

These men, Danzou's men, had attempted at Tsunade-sama's life. White-hot rage filled her as she clenched her jaw severely, whipping out a syringe filled with a translucent blue liquid. Hopefully this would push back the effects of the poison that had covered the senbon and give her more time. But even as the numbing sensation filled her body, nothing was putting out the flames of her ire. As a young woman she had found it difficult to actually kill, but now, nearly a year after that fight—the one with Chiyo-obaa-sama against Sasori of the Red Sand, the one that had showed her what a true fight was, that she either needed to kill or be killed—she had grown not only as a medic, but as an exceptional kunoichi of Konoha. The very same village that Sasuke had defected from, the same one that Naruto protected from Pain, the same one that Danzou was now pulling further down with his actions as Hokage. That had been the last straw and in a fit of rage, Inner Sakura exploded forth.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" she barked, the cold sound of her voice unfamiliar to even her own ears. "I thought we were supposed to be on the same side!"

None of the Root members responded, her words wasted on deaf ears. After a moment the one leading the squadron spoke up in the quiet air, the red symbols upon his white mask looked disturbingly similar to smeared blood; "You have seen too much, it is for the sake of Danzou-sama and Konoha that we must eliminate you."

"By assassinating the Hokage?" she yelled, hoping that some of the jonin on patrol would hear her. She could already feel the stirring of chakra from afar and knew that the explosive tag had worked. All she needed was to draw more forces out and guide this platoon as close to the jonin camp as she could.

"Danzou-sama is Hokage, and all decisions he makes are all for the sake of this village. He is like you, he wants to restore Konoha to its former glory and bring forth a new era."

"Danzou is a war mongrel, he doesn't care about Konoha. All he wants to do is create more chaos than there already is. Do you think that by killing Tsunade-sama it will bring forth some stability to this village? If anything it'll go into an uproar! Civil war will break out and it will become a bloodbath." Sakura hissed.

"Our duty is to Danzou-sama. All that he wishes to be done, shall. Because of this Haruno Sakura, you are deemed a threat to our mission and must be taken into custody. Danzou-sama will find you a suitable punishment to bear."

Before the Root member could finish his sentence however, Sakura had thrown a handful of explosive tags at them along with sending the tree that she had been on airborne and crashing. There. If that doesn't catch anyone's attention I don't know what will. Just as Sakura turned on her heel and leapt up a tree, she felt several more chakra signatures coming to the sight swiftly and from where she stood she saw that all were Root members. Maybe that wasn't such a hot idea.

She was soon bombarded by attacks and it was all she could do to keep from getting caught. Sakura pressed herself further and continued running east, hoping to lose them. As her moves grew more sluggish and her thoughts no longer flowed in a single stream as normal, she took out the chakra-boosting injection and slammed it down onto her thigh without second though. The chakra filled her immediately, surging through her like a wildfire. The Root members were persistent and were gaining quickly, but with her new boost, Sakura was faster and with surprising swiftness found herself facing the sea from the top of a white and jagged cliff.

The Root agents circled her, like a predator that had cornered its prey, but she would be damned if she allowed herself to be caught and dragged into whatever hell Danzou was preparing for her. Sakura was trapped, and she knew it. The last of her explosive tags had been used to inform her fellow shinobi of the attack. She couldn't run and her teammates had no idea where she was, so there was no possibility for back-up. To make matters worse, she could feel the short-term effects of the booster beginning to wear off, leaving her panting and drained of energy.

Deciding on the lesser of two evils, Sakura (with the help of her screeching Inner) flung herself off the edge and into the raging sea. Searing pain enveloped her as their projectiles embedded themselves onto her back.

The last thing she though before she hit the water was how she hoped it didn't hurt nearly as much as it looked. The icy water greeted her, the air rushed from her lungs and the all-encompassing darkness pulled her under.

She wasn't seen again for another three years.