Chapter 1: Prologue

Prologue: Strength within Myself

After the mission to Waves, Sakura realized she needed to get stronger; she would never survive long in the shinobi world with the way she was acting. Now, as the chuunin exams draw closer, Sakura finds new people she is able to learn from in her quest to become stronger.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Edited October 27th, 2015

Xxx Sakura xxX

She had been an utter failure on their last mission; if Naruto hadn't been there, Sakura was sure Sasuke-kun would have died. While she walked back to her house, Sakura couldn't help the feeling of complete disappointment when she thought back to the mission.

She had not helped any member of her team on the mission; if someone would have tried to attack Tazuna while Sakura was "protecting" him Tazuna would be dead now, along with herself, Sakura thought begrudgingly.

Kami was she stupid. How had she even passed out of the academy with her weakness? Glaring forward as she walked, Sakura tried to remember what her strengths were; no point in looking into one's strengths, when they can't look into their weaknesses.

Sakura's strength was in her thinking; she had one of the quickest minds in the academy, only Shikamaru Nara beat her in that category. She could also memorize anything; she knew every hand sign, she knew a bunch of jutsu. Also, Sakura had amazing chakra control. The biggest problem with Sakura was that she wasn't strong enough to perform the jutsu; Sakura did not have enough chakra.

So the major things Sakura needed were: chakra reserves, physical strength, and speed. Sighing, Sakura closed her eyes as she looked to the moon before her.

Reaching into her kunai pouch Sakura idly counted the low number of non-sharp weapons; how would she be able to protect her team with this?

Before the mission, Sakura had been concerned with how she was going to impress Sasuke-kun. The thoughts were trivial to her now. There was no way Sasuke Uchiha was going to fall in love with a weakling like her; all she did was hold him back.

Frowning, Sakura skipped past her house and instead headed towards a training field. She couldn't remember the last time she had trained by herself (if she had ever). Her priorities had been different before she went on that mission, but seeing how easily Sasuke-kun had been defeated had scared her straight.

If she didn't get stronger, she was only going to be a hindrance to her team, and Sakura refused to let Naruto and Sasuke-kun protect her anymore.

Once she arrived at the training field, Sakura let the wind blow through her long pink locks almost mockingly. She had once heard Kakashi-sensei say that ninja weren't supposed to worry about their appearance, so she decided she needed a change. This would cement her decision to become stronger.

Grabbing one of her dull kunai from her pouch, Sakura gripped her long locks tightly. With a quick slash, she cut through the strands until they rested a little below her chin. She didn't know what she looked like, but she didn't care. The long hair would get in the way of her training, and Sakura had enough things to worry about without her hair getting in the way of everything she did.

Sighing quietly, Sakura made a clone of herself before taking a step back and re-evaluating herself. She was small, with little to no muscle mass, and she was also slow. Frowning, Sakura knew would have to change that very soon.

Bringing a small amount of chakra to her feet, her and her clone started at a slow jog. She wanted to see how far she could get before she passed out, and Sakura had made the clone to keep her company. It sounded stupid, even to her, but it was something she would do when she was home alone sometimes.

Running beside her clone, Sakura followed the wall around Konoha for a little over forty minutes. Slowing to a walk, Sakura glared to the ground as she dismissed her clone. She wasn't quite tired yet, but she was more than a little upset with her endurance. No wonder the boys complained about her going slow… she really was.

Sighing quietly, Sakura decided it was time to train a little more in taijutsu. If one improved their strength, they could improve everywhere else; at least, that was what Sakura thought. Either way, taijutsu was the most basic ninja technique, and if she wanted any chance at becoming stronger, this was the way to do it.

Running back to the training ground, Sakura stopped when she noticed someone else was already there. "Oh, sorry," the pinkette said with a slight bow of her head. She didn't know who the person was, but she didn't want to bother him, and she really didn't want to embarrass herself either.

Before she could walk away, however, the male turned towards her. "Yosh!" the male said with way too much enthusiasm. Sakura's eyebrow rose slightly as the male practically flew towards her; how fast was this guy? "I am Rock Lee! What is a beautiful young flower like yourself doing out so late?"

"Oh," Sakura said with a small smile; he seemed nice enough. "I'm trying to train to become a better ninja; I'm not really a great one right now."

Lee's million watt smile turned down after she finished her sentence. He didn't frown, but Sakura saw his smile fade slightly. "What are you trying to train in, youthful flower?"

"Taijutsu mostly," Sakura said with a slight shoulder shrug. "I don't really have the chakra storage or endurance for anything else."

"Wonderful!" Lee said as his exuberance returned. "That is my specialty. Please let me help you train youthful flower! Your youthfulness should not diminish."

Sakura had to fight the smile that appeared on her face. "I think I'd like that," she said with a nod. The male's smile only widened at her response. "I'm Sakura by the way."

"Sakura-Chan!" Lee yelled. "I will help you become stronger!"

"Thank you Lee," Sakura said as she looked to the boy before her. He was a little unconventional, but Sakura didn't care. The male had at least given her the time of day, and seemed extremely excited to train her.

"We shall start tomorrow night!" Lee said as he gave her a thumbs-up. "I will bring weights for your delicate ankles to help with your speed. Meet me here at the same time."

"Okay," Sakura said with a smile. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow. Thank you Lee."

As Sakura walked away from the clearing, she found it hard not to smile. She was going to become stronger with the help of another.