A/N: So, due to all 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'm nervous.

On another 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 of them. I don't think it's going to affect the story much, but I 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 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 returned to the image of bad-assery she was in the beginning of Shippuden.

Edit 9/5/14

Re-uploading due to having the marvelous impromptumelody95 as my new beta!


Storm

Prologue


It was early 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 but steady restoration of the village. Pain's attack had been devastating –it had completely demolished everything—and Sakura knew that if Tsunade-sama didn't wake up soon then there would be more than a few nations willing to strike at their moment of weakness. As imminent as that threat could be, it was Sakura's priority to help Shizune with Tsunade-sama's recuperation.

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 nervous system to make sure that nothing was wrong with Tsunade's. It was all anyone could do, really. The moment Shizune and Sakura had gotten a chance they had immediately started working on their dear 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 all this, Tsunade-sama remained in her comatose state and Shizune announced that Tsunade just needed to rest. This didn't surprise Sakura in the slightest. After all Tsunade-sama had handed over almost all of her chakra to Katsuuyu, in order to heal all the villagers.

With the state that the village had been reduced to, and with Tsunade-sama out of the picture for the time being, an emergency council meeting was held almost immediately after Naruto had managed to defeat Pain; a vote, to see who would temporarily take the title of Hokage until Tsunade recovered from her comatose state—if she recovered at all! To Sakura and Naruto's dismay, Danzou had been elected, and by the Daimyo no less. Sakura couldn't help but think that there was something seriously wrong if anyone thought that that man was fit enough to be village leader. Hell, even Kakashi would be 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 faint 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 Sakura herself felt at that moment. Surely the elite shinobi of their village could 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 two kunai from her holster; one for each hand. Something was just not right, but before Sakura could deduce any form of theory, a sudden flare of chakra within Tsunade's tent caught her attention. Sprinting, Sakura wrenched open the flap and saw–not to her mentor coming to, but a cloaked figure with a porcelain mask hovering above Tsunade's prone form.

The Root member's kunai was elevated and clearly 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 chakra and connected the heel of her foot to the side of his skull.

A sickening crack filled the air as she crushed his skull and instantly he was dead. But even 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, 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 at him, fist raised —and 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 towards the cot from her right—aimed directly at Tsunade, and she dove into the line of fire, tiny bursts of pain exploding along her arms 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 wove a complex genjutsu around it for protection. She threw a kunai attached to an explosive tag at a tree several meters from the campsite that would detonate in exactly 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 instead to where she knew her fellow shinobi would be. As she neared the open field however, something blunt struck her with incredible force and sent her falling. Grabbing hold of a small tree, she pivoted midair and uprooted it before launching it at them. The masked nin scattered but before she could take another 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 remembered to pack her chakra-boosting injections. But as tired as she was, there was no helping the raging fire in her heart.

These men, Danzou's men, had attempted at Tsunade-sama's life. White-hot rage filled her anew and she clenched her jaw severely. She whipped out a syringe filled with translucent blue liquid. Hopefully it would push back the effects of the poison covering the senbon and give her a little 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 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; that Naruto had protected from Pain, and 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 were wasted on deaf ears. After a moment the one leading the squadron spoke up in the quiet air, and it caught her attention that 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 jounin on patrol would hear her. She could already feel the stirring of chakra from afar and knew that the explosive tag had worked just as intended. All she needed was to draw more forces out and guide this platoon as close to the jounin camp as she could.

"Danzou-sama is Hokage, and all the decisions he makes are 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 killing Tsunade-sama brings 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 be done. 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—"

Sakura threw a handful of explosive tags at them and hurled along another tree with it, as if in afterthought.

There, she thought. If that doesn't catch anyone's attention I don't know what will.

But just as Sakura had turned on her heel and leapt up a tree, she felt several more chakra signatures swiftly approaching the area and from where she stood she could see that they were all Root members.

Maybe that wasn't such a hot idea.

Soon she was 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, 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 had planned. 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 heavily and completely 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 thought before she hit the water was how she hoped it didn't hurt as much as it looked. Then the icy water greeted her. The air rushed from her lungs and the all-encompassing darkness pulled her under.

Haruno Sakura wasn't seen again for another three years.