.:To Trust Again:.

Chapter 5

"Yo,"

"You're late!" Naruto shouted, voice grating against Sasuke's cool composure.

"Dobe,"

"What was that, teme?" the blonde growled, cobalt eyes sharpening to a glare.

"Hn,"

"Teme…"

Kakashi cleared his throat in hopes to prevent a third ninja war, giving his two precious students pause. He sighed behind his cloth mask and used one hand to hopefully ward off the inevitable headache that came with being in a ten meter radius of this particular pair of shinobi. "Did you complete your mission?"

The two froze all together.

"I'll take that as a 'no,' then." Naruto's shoulders slumped as Sasuke folded across his chest.

"It wasn't a total failure," the blonde offered weakly, holding up a slumping finger in watered down indignation. Kakashi raised his lone visible eyebrow, prompting the blonde's continuation. "Yusei is one of Sakura's patients at the hospital…." he trailed off before plastering on a sheepish grin. "That's about it."

"So you learned nothing," the silver haired man stated decisively, causing a dejected sigh to drop out of the blonde's mouth.

"He was impaled," the Uchiha added, deciding to leave out the part where they had made the same discovery about Sakura.

"A medical report was not what your mission was for," Kakashi reminded the duo, pinching the bridge of his nose in annoyance. No, he wasn't annoyed that they "failed" the mission. He wasn't too overly concerned about this "Yusei-san." Sakura was a big girl, she could handle herself. No, he was more annoyed at the fact that they didn't get their face busted in by Sakura's fist. It was hard not to take some form of sadistic pleasure from two of the worlds most powerful shinobi being sent flying by a petite female with bubblegum hair.

"Come on, Kakashi-sensei," Naruto whined. "Can't we just train already?"

Kakashi strained to put on his most serious expression, stilling the traitorous facial muscles which threatened to pull his concealed lips into a grin.

"Did you forget why you went on that mission on the first place?" he admonished. "You were supposed to make sure that that boy wasn't going to hurt Sakura-chan."

Naruto blanched. "B-but-"

"What if he's trying to seduce her? Sakura-chan has grown into quite the beautiful young woman." Kakashi mused. A disgusted twitch presented itself amidst Sasuke's brow as Naruto's mouth dropped open in revulsion, steamy images of the pinkette and the masked jonin flitted through his head.

"H-hentai!" he screeched, aiming an accusatory finger at his masked sensei who turned to him innocently.

"Hm? I merely stated the facts that have been flowing through Konoha's gossip pools, it was you who imagined the worst of it." he drawled, causing Naruto to splutter and blush on his own account. "What would Sakura-chan say if she heard you now?"

Sasuke turned away from the blonde idiot, the burning feeling of what he would only allow himself to classify as protectiveness over his only female teammate, cooled only slightly at Naruto's mortification. Since when had Sakura been classified as a beautiful young woman? He could only think of the large forehead and innocent sea-foam eyes which stared up at him, showering him with praises that he didn't need. That image was quickly overshadowed by an evil sneer as she stared down at where she had restrained him to that goddamned tree! As if there was a "beautiful young woman" beneath all of those layers of pride, ignorance, and stubbornness.

"T-that's not what I meant," Naruto stuttered as he attempted to compose himself. "But I see what you mean." he added grimly.

"Indeed," the masked nin nodded somberly. "She would kill you."

A vein bulged in the blonde's forehead as he strained to cool his naturally-out bursting temper. "That's not what I meant either," he took a steadying breath to collect himself before continuing on. "That Yusei-guy could be a total ass. What if he just tried to use Sakura-chan for her for her bo-"

Sasuke thunked the blonde idiot over the head with a scowl. As if someone would use Sakura, of all people, for something like that. She was far too innocent to consent. Unless she didn't consent and he just- No. Its not like anyone would go for her like that anyways. She was so annoying and not many people got past the forehead thing. 'But she grew into her forehead,' he thought with a start. Its not like she was some flat-chested tween anymore, either.

"What was that for?" Naruto screeched as Sasuke delved up the last image of Sakura he could think of, past her twelve-year-old self, and grew more and more nervous by the second. She had lost all of her childish roundness and grew into a toned body with curves in all the right places. He remembered the silky smooth feel of her skin when he had carried her home the other day, how creamy and flawless it was. Her training gave her a near impossible grace and boundless confidence. A cold sweat broke across his brow as he made one shocking realization.

'Some guy really might go for her, just for her body…'

He knew Sakura would probably smack him if he said this to her. The old Sakura would have blushed and fidgeted and passed out at the mere thought of him caring for her well-being. It was amusing how he could turn one of the most boisterous kunoichi in Konoha into one resembling the stuttering Hyuuga heiress. Though, he supposed, those days were over.

"Oi, teme, I'm talking to you!"

"Hn,"

Naruto struggled to maintain his hold on his temper as he pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger.

"What I mean is, Sakura's strong in battle and in the hospital, but relationship-wise?"

Kakashi nodded thoughtfully. "You're right, she definitely has a, well, peculiar taste in men."

His two students bristled at this, just a bit. But just a bit was enough to cast a smirk over the jonin's features. Naruto finally reached the point where he could no longer contain his frustration.

"Goddamn it all! What I fucking meant was that we should continue our investigation of this Yusei guy! Can we please attempt to stay on subject?"

"Gomen, gomen," Kakashi amended as Naruto diffused a bit. "You two are just too much fun to rile up."

Naruto harrumphed and Sasuke turned away, though their sensei simply waved them off.

"But if you're really going to go back for more information, you can't let Sakura know. She views herself as far too independent for us to be interfering in her personal life." stated the jonin, thinking of the far too many times where their "help" for the petal-haired kunoichi ended in a solid punch.

Grimacing at similar memories, Naruto and Sasuke frowned and wracked their brains for a way to sidestep Sakura's knowledge.

Suddenly, Naruto's eyes lit up with epiphany and a smirk spread across his features.

"I have a plan,"


The sun peered in through her glass balcony door, warming her face uncomfortably until a light sheen of sweat broke over her forehead. Too tired to get up, the kunoichi lay there, simmering in its rays until an angel of mercy closed the blinds. Bleary emerald eyes opened, granting a view of her mothers slender form haloed by the hidden sun, her aging features softened in the dim light. A light smile curved her pink lips as she took a seat on the side of her daughter's bed, rumpling the blankets under her weight. Her polished fingers brushed back her daughters petal-like hair from her sun-warmed face.

"Kaa-san?" Sakura croaked, gazing up at her mother who's gentle eyes were trained on her daughter's face. Her throat felt dry and raw and her mother miraculously procured a glass of water from her bedside table. She took cautious sips, relishing in the feeling of the cool liquid sliding down her scratchy throat until it felt smooth and refreshed. Her mother gently took the glass from her pale hands and set back on the small table besides her bed. "What time is it?"

"Mm," her mother turned her head to glimpse at the clock, her long, rose colored hair fanning out at the sudden motion. "About four."

Sakura mentally sighed, she hadn't been out for too long.

"When Sasuke brought you home yesterday he said that your chakra had been depleted and that you would be asleep for awhile, but I didn't think it would be this long." Sakura froze at those words, she had been asleep for how long? Panic fluttered in her stomach as she thought about the bustling hospital and the exhausting surgeries which were now burdened on the other medics. That is, until some of her mother's other words resonated through her head.

"Sasuke?" she squeaked, earning a playful grin from the older woman. Sasuke had brought her home, of all people? She would have though that Naruto would have been the one to do that, especially after his little episode of concern in Yusei's room. But Sasuke? The very though blew her mind.

"Mmhmm," her mother nodded, assuring the girl that the once proclaimed 'love of her life' had been her knight in shining armor. "Nearly gave your father a heart attack. I thought he was going to pounce on the poor boy!"

A small smile glinted across her face as she entertained that thought. Cold blooded killer, Uchiha Sasuke pounced on by her civilian father. Priceless.

Sakura sat up to stretch her arms above her head, noticing that she no longer wore her kunoichi getup. Her mother must have changed her into pajamas while she was out cold. When her mother stood from the bed, the kunoichi swung her feet out from under the blankets and onto the floor, polished wood chilling her tender toes. She pushed herself up, feeling slightly unbalanced as her knees wobbled and her vision blackened for a minute before returning to normal.

Her mother stared at her with a critical eye. "Tsunade-sama gave you the day off of work today." As her daughter opened her mouth in attempted protest, she added on. "Well, she more like banned you from the hospital today. She said that if you happened to show up, all staff had been given permission to send you home by force, if need be."

Sakura sighed, raking her hands through her tangled pink locks. Tsunade knew her better than she gave the woman credit for. Her mother offered her a small smile.

"Why don't you go take a nice warm shower and I'll make you something to eat," she suggested, picking up the discarded glass of water and making her way to the door. Sakura sighed in defeat after her mother's retreating figure.

'Sasuke, huh?'

It was strange, all of the changes that Sasuke had overcome in these past few months. She shuffled through her dresser drawers for a clean set of clothes before making her way to the bathroom. Thinking back to before Naruto had saved Sasuke, Sakura couldn't help the icy shiver that traveled down her spine. Sasuke had been a borderline sociopath. Scratch that, he had been a sociopath. But somehow, Naruto managed to kick him back into reality during that final battle. Those cold, crazed eyes held the heat of fierce determination at that time, a side that only Naruto had been able to bring out. And, by some miraculous effort, Naruto pulled Sasuke's humanity out from the fire of their battle.

A sigh escaped Sakura. It seemed like it had always been Naruto and Sasuke. Sasuke and Naruto. Heck, she almost missed the time that it had been Naruto and Sakura. At least then she had felt like she was truly part of the team. But it felt as if things had returned to the way they had before Sasuke's defection, not that that was a bad thing entirely. But it felt like her male teammates had their own little world, their own deeper understanding of each other. They were the two orphaned children, jaded by nature and shunned by society.

And she was a medic. While she didn't understand their little world, they didn't truly understand hers either, she supposed. She could speak circles around the two of them, using words that even the Uchiha once-avenger couldn't fathom the meaning. And her pride liked that. Oh, her pride liked that a lot.

But the fact remained that she couldn't understand her boys, even after all these years.

Her head hit the bathroom wall with a solid thud in annoyance as steam began to fill the room and cloud out her brain. She wished things were simpler, that her boys had happier lives but wishing did nothing in the world she lived in. Action did.

Years ago, when she finally understood a mere fraction of what Naruto and Sasuke were going through, she vowed to make them happier. She paid more attention to Naruto, heck, she even went on a date with him once upon a time. She respected him more and praised him where praise was due. He was her best friend.

And Sasuke. She had started to actually listen to him, the few times he actually talked at least. She began to see just how deep he was into his revenge and tried to be the sunshine in his life. Oh god, she tried. She stayed by his side whenever he was down, defended him when he was weak, and made her heart encompass all that was Sasuke, both his good and his bad.

But he still left.

Sakura stepped under the hot spray of the shower, relishing in the feeling of each individual bead of scalding water pounding on her skin as she remembered how cold that stone bench was when she had been awoken that next morning. Her hair began to feel heavier on her head, nearly touching her shoulder blades. A sardonic smile turned her lips.

'Things really are going back to how they were before.'


Naruto bit the tip of is tongue as his ankles wobbled from their unfamiliar height. Again.

'Why does Sakura have to wear fucking heels?'

Even as an elite shinobi and master of the shadow clone and henge jutsus, the idea of shoes with uneven soles befuddled his keen sense of balance. Naruto brushed back an annoying strand of pink hair from his face as he made his way to the hospital entrance.

His only comfort was the bruised and battered Sasuke limping along next to him. For this plan to work, they had to have an actual reason to go to the hospital, thus the "bluing skin" around some of the once-avenger's cuts. In all honesty, it was blue sharpie marker, but nobody really needed to know that so long as it looked like the effect of a poisoned kunai. Naruto sufficiently enjoyed himself as he released all of his earlier frustrations on his teammate who had willingly, albeit reluctantly, subjected himself to the beating for the sake of their "mission."

"Sakura-sempai?"

For a brief, chilling moment, Naruto thought that the pink haired medic was somewhere nearby and that she'd catch them and then they would be so fucking dead. Then Naruto realized the nurse at the front desk was, in fact, addressing him.

He breathed a quick sigh of relief and quieted his pounding heart to turn and meet the skeptical glare of the receptionist.

"Yes?"

The nurse's eyebrows arched. "Aren't you supposed to be resting today?"

Naruto froze as his mind quickly flipped through an entire list of excuses as to why they were where they weren't supposed to be (being the students of Kakashi did have some merits) under the nurse's scrutinizing gaze.

'WhatwouldSakuradoWhatwouldSa kurado?'

An exhausted sigh ripped from Naruto's lungs as he folded his brow into one of intense irritation.

"I wasn't planning on coming in but those two idiots managed to beat each other up so badly and somehow the tem-Sasuke managed to get hit with a poisoned kunai! I didn't even know that Naruto had poison kunai!" he pinched the bridge of his nose in a wonderful show of utmost frustration. "But I need to get Sasuke the antidote before that blonde idiot really does manage to kill him."

The nurse's stare bore down on the pinkette-disguised-blonde and Naruto began to sweat under the pressure of it all.

"I'll only be here for a little bit, promise!" he began to wave his hands nervously in front of his chest in show of defense, eliciting a groan of defeat from the nurse.

"Ten minutes!" she declared, "Any longer and Tsunade will have your head!"

Naruto gulped down the mouthful of fear that she had dished out before yanking Sasuke's arm in the direction of Sakura's office. After they were out of earshot Naruto broke out in a panicked whisper. "We don't have much time; we need to spit up, now."

Sasuke nodded grimly. "I'll search the records for any information, you go to his room to interrogate him."

They shared a brief moment of understanding before parting in different directions.

Sasuke's first mission was to go to Sakura's office and actually make it look like some effort had been put towards restoring his health. His hand upon the cool surface of the knob, he pushed the door open to be greeted with a wafting breeze of air conditioning and fresh parchment. It was rare that Sakura actually did anything clinical in here, he figured, though he knew that she had to have some medical tape in one of the drawers in her mahogany desk. Her office also the place where she would store the information of her most recent patients, conveniently enough.

It was very scarcely decorated, with a cushy tan couch on one end where she would occasionally nap should her schedule ever allow it. On the other end was her desk, covered with scattered notes and pens. Medical texts lined the shelves behind her desk should she ever need to look up any uncommon symptoms or unexplained reactions. Tall, silver filing cabinets stood in a row on the rest of the walls, making her office feel much smaller than what it actually was.

Gingerly, he lowered himself into the cushioned, swiveling chair and rested his hand on the cool surface of the polished wood, feeling something akin to power.

'So this is what it feels like to hold a high rank in society.' he absently pondered to himself. Very few ninja's were actually famous amongst the civilian population, and the ones that were tended to be because they were vicious murderers who enjoyed harming the weak. No, the only other well known shinobi would be the Kages, and even they were only well known in the shinobi villages. But Sakura- Sakura was something else entirely. The first several months after the war was over, she had left the village in attempt to heal some of the injured which could not be cared for by the local medical staff of foreign villages and towns. She taught clinics during those times, training other medics in the art of mending bones and sewing flesh. It felt like a duty of Konohagakure to assist the other villages during that time of peace.

Sasuke barely took note of her absence, so wrapped up in his own struggles as he was. He had been imprisoned, much to Naruto's chagrin, and was subjected to Ibiki's interrogation, though, at that point he was beyond caring and offered up any information willingly. It had all passed as a mindless blur, as his brain attempted to catch up with reality. By the time he was aware of his surroundings, Naruto had already set him up in his apartment complex and Sakura had returned. Not that it had mattered, really. She had rarely come to visit him, and when she did the atmosphere was tense, to say the least. He had thought things had improved between the two of them though, but Sakura had proved to him that there was still a long way to go before things could even begin to resemble normalcy.

He sighed as he rifled through the desk drawers, finding a tight roll of gauze in a plastic red first aid kit. After he successfully treated his wounds Sasuke made his way over to the row of silver filing cabinets lining the wall, each with a small paper insert displaying the letters A through Z. He scoured the labels, looking for "O" and made quick work of the lock on the drawer, amazed and disappointed at how easy it was to go through Sakura's professional files. Even in the hospital she was still a shinobi. There should have been a much more vicious form of security.

Holding that thought tight in his mind, Sasuke located the file he was looking for, "Osameru Yusei." It was a relatively thin manila folder, as compared to the novel sized medical reports of Konoha's shinobi though that was to be expected; ninjas had a habit of returning home wounded. All in a days work.

No sooner had he folded open the front cover did Sasuke realize something was wrong. With a rising sense of anticipation, he flipped through the entire folder. His eye barely rested on one page before they moved to the next until he had scoured the entire contents of Yusei's file to no avail.

Every page was blank.

Sasuke's eyes bled to swirling black and red, Sharingan seeing what he alone could not. The walls of the room were lined with a near imperceptible coating of chakra; Genjutsu.

'She's improving,' he thought, smirk on his face as he brought one hand up into a seal.

"Kai!" the image around him flickered, as words began to take form on the file in front of him though there was still the buzz of chakra in the air.

Click.

All of the lights in the tiny office went off, leaving Sasuke in total darkness and unable to read the file in his hands.

click

swoooo-click

click

Sasuke recognized at once the sounds of locks falling into place, trapping him with the suddenly sinking realization that Sakura had probably also rigged this up with an alarm system. She would know!

Sharingan glowing, Sasuke sent out a chakra spike, hoping to whatever god was out there that Naruto would get it.

'Come on, dobe!'


Sakura twisted her petal locks up into a fluffy white towel, relishing in the steam contained in her small bathroom. She only wore her red zip up tank top and black shorts, leaving out her med-skirt since she was apparently banned from the hospital today.

Feeling rather melancholy, Sakura left the bathroom and padded down the hall, intending to join her parents for a rather belated breakfast. As she passed by her bedroom, she almost missed the faint buzzing coming from her bedside table. Her heart sped as she recognized the noise; it was the small sensor she had kept in her med skirt for when she was away from the hospital.

Someone had broken in to her office!

Tossing the towel on her bed and yanking her damp hair into a small ponytail, she raced down the stairs, pausing only to slip on her boots before she sped out the door.


Naruto paced his breathing to a steady rhythm, Sakura's sea foam eyes staring straight ahead, making contact with no one as to not draw attention to himself. He made his way past nurses stations, seeing their eyes trail after him as he neared his destination. Several of the hospital staff took note of the familiar form swiftly traversing the halls, many of which paused in their business, suspicion falling upon the retreating figure though none moved to stop him. Nurses would cut off mid conversation upon the sight of him, mouths still parted as both parties would turn and stare. Naruto clenched his sweaty palms, his heart beating twice the rate it would normally in his nervousness. The hospital seemed to freeze wherever he moved, even the bleeps of heart monitors or the drip drip of IVs could not dispel the deafening silence. 'Its eerie, all of the eyes and none of the action.' Naruto thought as the hair on the back of his neck prickled.

Naruto turned around another corner, familiar door in sight as whispers trailed in his wake.

He slid the door open and stepped inside as many watched from the hall. Inside he was met with another pair of eyes, forest green and wide with shock.

"What're you doing here, angel?" confusion was evident in the gravely voice of Osameru Yusei. "Aren't you supposed to be out until tomorrow?"

Blistering at being called "angel," Naruto forced a smile as he willed his heart to return to a normal pace.

"I just couldn't stay away from this place, there's just so much to do!" he said, hoping his voice remained steady and that his Sakura impression was spot-on. The look on Yusei's face however, told him that he was rusty. He thought quickly, grasping in the dark for something to cover it. "What, not happy to see your angel?"

Yusei's eyebrows quirked at that, suspicion and concern still present on his face. "You know I'm always happy to see you, angel, you saved my life. But you still shouldn't be here. Kyoko-san said you had overworked yourself and needed some rest."

"I'm a kunoichi, I can handle it." Naruto went for Sakura's typical line from whenever anyone tells her to take a break. "Don't worry about it!" he forced another smile, though it more took the form as a grimace at the display of absolute concern on his face.

"You sure you're alright, angel?"

"I'm fine," he snapped, then tried to reel himself back in. "How are you feeling?" he hoped he sounded concerned, but he was having a hard time mustering the empathy for this man who's gaze never lessened in intensity.

"I should be asking you that. From what I hear you should really be resting." He began to sit up, arms straining to lift himself from the mattress as he let out a low groan of pain.

"Don't try to stand up, baka!" Naruto shouted at him, though Yusei was already swinging his feet over the side of the bed.

"Don't worry about it, angel. I've been going stir crazy just sitting there. Besides, I need to make sure you get home." his smile made Naruto want to vomit with its sweetness, though he had to admit he was somewhat impressed with Yusei's determination. At the same time it made him hate the man all the more.

"You should be resting!" Naruto fumed, hoping to just sound concerned and not as if he were about to rip Yusei's head off.

"I'm getting released tomorrow, doc. You patched me up pretty good. Have a little faith in your work, eh?" he smirked up at him as he set his bare feet on the ground, shivering at the contact.

"Lay down!"

Yusei stood up, resting his full weight on his feet for the first time since he had been carried in on a stretcher, barely clinging onto life.

"Damn it, listen to me!" Naruto was near shouting now in his frustration when he felt the spike. Sasuke's distinct chakra shot out through the hospital in a sharp jab to Naruto's senses, imperceptible to anyone who was not well trained in the shinobi arts. However, it was a clear distress signal to anyone who was.

'Damn it, teme! Not a good time!'

Yusei took a few steps toward him before Naruto blurted "Fine, you win! I'm leaving!" the bolted from the room, popping his head back in momentarily to tell him to lay the fuck down.

Only Naruto's absolute force of willpower kept his henge from slipping as he sprinted down the hall, high-heels lost to the chaos of the hospital. Doctors and nurses alike jumped out of his path, wary of the speeding freight train that was Naruto. His bare feet slapped against the linoleum as he neared Sakura's office, careening past a nurses cart of meds and applesauce. He slid around a corner, nearly succeeding in crashing into a hasty pair of doctors discussing the latest patients. Ignoring their cries of surprise, he finally spotted Sakura's office.

Naruto tried the doorknob but it was locked several times over, some of which with a chakra he recognized as Sakura's. Unfortunately he was not the only one to have sensed Sasuke's distress call.

"WHO IS CAUSING A RUCKUS IN MY HOSPITAL?"

Tsunade's voice careened through the hall and Naruto almost lost the henge in his absolute panic. He did the one thing he could think to do, and that was to break in the door. Bracing himself, he jammed his shoulder against it with all of his shinobi strength, though it hardly budged under his full weight and he could hear Tsunade getting even closer. Thinking fast, Naruto made a small scale Rasengan and forced it though the door, past the wall of chakra and broke through to the other side. Nearby doctors and nurses stopped and stared as he tried his weight again against the door, using its newly found weak spot to his advantage, and succeeded.

The room inside was dark, though he immediately spotted the glowing red eyes, wide and glaring at him.

"You didn't have to break in the door," he hissed through grit teeth.

"Yes I did, run!" Naruto grasped Sasuke's arm and yanked the Uchiha out of the rubble and careened down the hall.

"What are you doing, dobe?" Sasuke easily kept pace, wrenching his arm out of Naruto's strangle-hold.

Tsunade's screech of rage from behind them clued him in and propelled the two faster than ever. A gurney being pushed into the emergency room took up most of the path in the hallway. Thinking fast, both shinobi simultaneously jumped, curling themselves into tight balls so as not to accidentally strike one of the doctors pushing the gurney or any of the attached equipment, and landed in a graceful crouch on the other side, pushing off immediately into a dead sprint.

"What did you do?" Sasuke spat as they skid around another corner, their intense speed pushing them forward whereas their intentions told them to turn. They ran into a gaggle of nurses, effectively scattering them in their haste to get away from their impending doom.

"BRATS! GET BACK HERE!"

They pumped their arms as hard as they could go, calves burning in their strain.

"Haruno-sempai?" Naruto had a mini heart attack until he remembered that he was still, in fact, disguised as Sakura. His pink hair was wildly whipping behind him, clothes mused and rumpled from the chase as his bare feet barely touched the ground before pushing off again. He looked like a savage, fear and desperation holding his eyes wide as he pushed his body to the limits of his speed. He and Sasuke were but a blur to the untrained eye of the hospital staff as they finally saw an exit sign.

Relief at the thought of escape coursed through the two shinobi as they darted around the final corner and were immediately brought to a complete stop.

By the extended arm of none other than Sakura Haruno, the real one. Looking feral and furious with her rosy damp hair ruthlessly tied into a ponytail and an angry flush to her cheeks that could rival it. Her emerald eyes lit with rage as they met the identical eyes of her doppelganger, still choking from having his throat practically crushed by her arm. She took in the scene around her, the chaos of the hospital staff, the murderous intent of her shishou who was quickly closing in on them, and the disheveled appearance of her teammates. She sucked in a breath through clenched teeth and both shinobi braced for the explosion.

Sakura was not one to disappoint.

"BAKA!" she screeched, her fist soaring at Naruto's face, then Sasuke's, sending them flying down the hall. Naruto lost the henge upon impact, and the two slid to a stop right at the tapping heel of the Godaime Hokage. Apprehensively, Naruto cracked open his eyes only to be met with her irate stare, hands on her hips has her blood red lips pulled back into a snarl. From his peripheral vision he could see Sakura storming in on them, knuckles cracking as her boots stamped on the ground.

Naruto whimpered as the harpies descended.


"I can't believe you two! Destruction of hospital property, attempting to view classified information, impersonation of a medical professional! These things can get you demoted, or thrown into jail even! What the hell were you two thinking?" Sakura screeched at her now black-and-blue teammates. They were now sitting in the chairs in Tsunade's office as flipped through files, shoulders still tense with anger.

"But Sakura-chan-" Naruto began weakly, only to be cut off with the kunoichi's glare. He gulped and slumped down in his chair, shoulders nearly at level with his ears.

"I have a mission for you three," the guilty duo and their fuming teammate all snapped their head in the Hokage's direction.

"Wha-?" Naruto's mouth hung open.

"Now?" asked Sakura, bewildered.

"Yes, now," she snapped. "It's a simple escort and protection mission. One of the prominent families of Amegakure's daughter is here and her family has requested an escort home as well as a bodyguard for an undecided period of time. There have been several threats against her life because of the civil unrest from the war and the remaining effect of the Akatsuki. You will do your best to blend in, which is part of the reason I chose your team in particular."

"What do you mean, shishou?" Sakura inquired, momentarily postponing her anger.

"You'll know soon enough," Tsunade assured, then turned to Naruto and Sasuke. "You two will not be paid for this mission."

"What?" came Naruto's indignant response as Sasuke's eyes sharpened in anger. The Godaime's harsh glare silenced the two.

"Your funding from this mission will go to paying for the hospital equipment you destroyed, the patients you disturbed, and will cover your bail so that I don't have to throw you into prison," she explained tersely.

"Yes ma'am," Naruto whimpered and slouched further in his seat.

"Who is it that we're going to be escorting?" Sakura piped up, choosing to ignore her disgraceful teammates.

"Mizora Hanae, the heir of the Mizora clan. I will have Shizune bring her in now."

As if she were listening by the door, Shizune's head poked into the room, expression calm but timid. Upon seeing Tsunade's nod of approval she opened the door wider and led in a young girl. All three of the shinobi in the chairs sat up straight in attempts to get a better view of the girl and all three pairs of eyes widened at the sight.

The girl appeared to be around seven or eight years old, and wore a short green dress with black athletic leggings and nin-sandals. A tan traveling cloak was wrapped loosely around her narrow shoulders. Her pale face still held some baby fat around her cheeks and her luminous cerulean eyes were fringed by long lashes. They immediately locked onto Sakura's green ones as the kunoichi's mouth dropped open slightly.

The child's hair was almost the exact same shade of pink as her own.

'So this is what Tsunade meant.'


I. AM. BACK! And sososososososososooooo sorry I haven't been updating, but this past year has been, for lack of better terms, batshitcrazy. Quick run down? Senior year, went to prom, took three AP tests, won a scholarship from my orchestra that the class voted on (I didn't even know that many people actually knew I was there...), got rejected by a boy who then asked out my best friend since the third grade who turned him down and now he's trying to get with me and my friend isn't speaking to me... So I've been pretty busy! And am not, in any way, shape, or form bitter. Nope.

But I am so absolutely happy that you read this! And I really hope to start updating more frequently but I am also starting my freshman year of university in a month so I will make no gaurentees... I'm gonna be a nurse though! Which may have been somewhat inspired by our very own Haruno Sakura... Thank you Kishimoto :)

But anyways, pleasepleasepleasepleaaaaaaa aaaaase review! I will respond to every one if I can! Its also the only proof I really get that people read this so pretty please? Make my day :)

Thank you for reading

-Angel