Sakura stared at her mentor, dumbfounded.

"I have to what?"

Tsunade paused and sighed into her entwined fingers.

"Sakura, it's a requirement for all chunins that want to receive higher than B level missions." Her voice was much calmer than her usual harried yelling. She knew this was a delicate subject, and she would have killed not to have to tell her protégé that the village needed her to lose her virginity if she ever wanted to become a fully-fledged ninja.

Sakura's face throughout the duration of this conversation had gone from serious to shocked and had finally settled on blank. Tsunade couldn't tell whether the cogs in Sakura's brain were working frantically or had shut down completely.

"Sakura," Tsunade said softly, "you don't have to do this. You can still continue on with your hospital work, and your normal missions, but, as for reconnaissance and spy work, as well as any A or S class missions…" she faded off. Sakura was still in her own world. "Sakura! Snap out of it!"

Sakura snapped to attention, and Tsunade realized she had tears in her eyes. Tsunade immediately regretted her outburst. Apparently she would have to control herself, but damned if Sakura thought this was easy for her. To be the one to tell her prized student her innocence was getting in the way of her career. Not to mention saving one of her best friends.

"…Tsunade-sama," Tsunade looked up to see Sakura staring at the floor, "Do I—have to do this, to—to…"

"Be allowed to go on the mission to rescue Sasuke? Yes.'' Tsunade saw Sakura flinch. "I tried talking to the council, seeing as how this is a somewhat different class of mission, but they wouldn't budge. Any mission above B class requires ninja who have lost their virginity. "

"But wh—?"

"The rules were originally made to protect ninja from undue trauma due to rape, but some ninja are so eager to move up in the ranks, they force themselves to lose their virginity before they're really ready, and that can be just as bad. The council doesn't see it that way though, and though it's archaic, it looks like that rule isn't going to be repealed anytime soon." She paused, "Sakura, I'm sorry you've been put in this position, but the choice is up to you.


"And how the HELL do you expect me to decide, HUH?" Sakura threw the cracked table into the wall where it shattered into pieces, "I have given EVERYTHING to this village, and all I want is to be able to go save my best friend and you won't even let me do that, because of some dumbass rule?"

Tsunade stood up, "You think I WANTED to tell you this? You think I enjoy watching you suffer? If you think for a second that I didn't fight this with everything I had against those old windbags in the council…!" She faded off in a huff, hunched over, looking down. She looked up at her pupil. Both were breathing heavily, but as they locked eyes they understood each other. She crossed over the remains of her desk and took her shaking student in her arms.

Sakura immediately burst into tears, "I—it's not f-fair."

"I know it's not, honey, I know."