Hello awesome readers. Jasmine and I know that it's been FOREVER since we updated the reason for that is because Jasmine is about to have a BABY! So remember to say Congrats to her when you have the time kay? ;) But that is no excuse for a late update so for that, we apologize… Needless to say, for her some days it's easier to write and some days it's not. But we will endeavor to do our best b/c we know all of you enjoy reading this story and the other ones that we have written. So, without further ado, Enjoy!Sakura crawled slowly across the ceiling, her chakra letting her stick like a spider to the tiles. It took her all of about two seconds to convince her sensei that she wanted to take the kill. She knew he didn't understand why a ten year old girl wanted to strike the killing blow but he never asked. That's one thing she liked about her sensei, he never asked her stupid questions.
"Are you in position?" A crackled voice came over her radio.
"Hai sensei but we have a slight problem," she whispered so she wouldn't be overheard.
"He has company."
Sakura kept her radio on for a few seconds longer letting her sensei hear exactly what her problem was. The woman gasped then followed by her targets equally loud groan. It was so gross. Sakura hated missions that involved sex. But other than her disgusted feelings towards the act, it did provide the best cover for assassinations.
"Well sounds like you'll have to wait," her sensei's light tenor chuckled over the radio.
Sakura growled, "Don't you dare pull out that perverted book while we're in this stage of-" the woman below shrieked making Sakura cringe, "the mission."
"Don't worry so much Sakura, I've got your back. Always have, always will."
That comment cracked a small smile to the young girl's lips before she shook her head fiercely.
No…don't show it…even when he's not around. No emotion. I do not feel. I do not feel.
That was her mantra and she lived by it every day. It was hard to feel emotions and not let them show. She found that it was almost impossible to do so. So instead of allowing herself to just suppress emotions, Sakura was now training herself to not feel. If she couldn't feel anything then nothing would show. So far it worked for her.
"Harder! Harder! Oh Kami, YES!" the woman cried out.
Sakura's face stayed blank and she buried the horror, disgust, and embarrassment she felt while being privy to this immoral act. Granted she knew that babies were made from participating in this deed but…she didn't understand why people would do it just because they could. Obviously from the sound of it they were enjoying themselves but…if they didn't want a baby, then why?
Kami…stop thinking about this. It's not helping whatsoever.
The man's grunts grew more heated, he sounded like a damn animal. The woman shrieked again and Sakura instantly recognized the sounds of her finishing. Yes this wasn't her first assassination where the target brought company back. And after the second mission like this she could recognize when the act was nearing completion. And she was right a few second later the target gasped and the bed quit rocking. The only sound in the room now was their labored breathing. Sakura prepared herself and eyed the black satin curtain that hung above the four poster bed. Clicking on her radio she sent a brief message to her Sensei in Morse Code so he would know that she was going in for the kill.
The man turned over off the woman, eyes closed, still trying to regulate his breathing. He didn't even notice the small child sneaking up beside him until it was too late. In a quick movement Sakura jumped up and aimed two kunai for both of their exposed throats. Granted the woman was an innocent but she was here, therefore she was collateral damage for the sake of the mission. It took only seconds for both victims to bleed out.
"Mission complete, meet at rendezvous point," Sakura intoned over her radio.
"Roger that, see you in five," Kakashi replied, "Oh and the guard is nearing your door so use the window."
Not bothering to preserve the privacy of her victim, mostly because she was still little weirded out from their nakedness, she withdrew her kunai and cleaned them on the rumpled sheets. The window was easy to open but she had a slight height problem. There was no balcony just a fifty foot drop to the garden below. Wall walking seemed better than jumping and that meant she was using less chakra to cushion her landing if she were to just jump.
Sticking to the wall easily she closed the window and got down to the ground. This man was such an imbecile for not having more security on the grounds. Getting in and out was a joke for two elite shinobi. Well…she didn't have the elite classification yet but she was B-rank in the Bingo book. It was only a matter of time before she became S-rank.
She spied Kakashi waiting in a tree twenty meters from the gates and she joined him silently.
"Excellent, you made back in three minutes," he gave her his trademark eye crinkle smile.
Sakura deadpanned, "You always give me too much time."
"Ah," Kakashi lifted a finger, "It teaches you to be early instead of late like your sensei."
Sakura fought an eye roll…what the hell was he on anyway?
"You feeling alright?"
"I'm fine," she shrugged then jumped into the trees heading for home.
Kakashi followed. He hated that she was so introverted but he understood why. It was hard growing up a prodigy, the pressure from family was almost unbearable. For him it was trying to be good enough to erase his father's shame. He lived by a strict nindo that his teammate Obtio helped him recreate. For her…well it was a little different. Her father was forcing her to embody all the power of the clan and make her the poster child of what Konoha had lost. Not only that…but she was also undergoing strict emotion control training. He tried to keep their brutal missions lighthearted by acting like a slight fool at times but it never seemed to work.
"So…" he started earning a sidelong glance from Sakura, "Clean kill?"
Sakura nodded, "Slit throats, they bled out in fifteen seconds."
"All weapons collected, gloves covered any fingerprints."
Sakura sighed internally. She knew Kakashi meant well and deep down she appreciated his attention. Recently, Sakura was receiving very little from her family. If it wasn't time to train or meal time then she never saw her father. Her mother was equally as scarce and worked mostly on emotional control with her. She also taught her how to be a proper lady. As the clan heir Sakura was obligated to look and act the part. While at home she was expected to be showered and dressed for dinner no later than six in the evening. She was required to look presentable complete with her hair done, light make-up, and various formal wear. Table etiquette was drilled into her until it was a subconscious reaction, as was proper tea and sake pouring.
The Haruno head family knew that since Sakura had the kekkei genkai, she would be returning to ensure their vengeance on the village. She would still be the heir to the clan and future leader, so such typically nonsensical things needed to be learned now.
Sakura would never admit it but she rather enjoyed those dinners with her parents. It was the only time they spent together in a normal manner…or whatever normal really was for them. Like her mother Sakura's appearance was very important to her. She knew she was pretty, definitely above average than typical Academy and village girls, and many of them were jealous of her beauty. Her angular features and lack of baby fat gave her a sophisticated appearance way beyond her age. Her light pink hair fell around her waist in thick wavy locks that glimmered in the afternoon sun. At one point in time she had imagined what she would look like with short hair; had even lifted her long hair so that it bobbed near her chin. And let's just say the results were atrocious, short hair was not her style.
But the lavish yukatas and kimonos that hung perfectly in her closet were her favorites. It was definitely a difference to the everyday training outfits and other clothing that she wore when she woke up every day. Not that training wasn't important, it was of upmost importance that she get strong for her clan, but actually taking the time to curl her hair, or pin it up in an elegant twist; well Sakura could honestly admit that she looked forward to her evenings. It was the only time where she had to worry about nonsensical things like how to pour tea, the proper way to hold her chopsticks, how to sit in a kimono. And it was through these small moments that she felt she even had a family.
Her parents were taking emotional control to the extreme. Even during dinners most of it would be spent in silence and if her father or mother detected the slightest bit of emotion then she was reprimanded. Sakura had wished that dinner would be different but they weren't and honestly…she probably would have been driven to insanity with all the emotional control if it weren't for Sai.
Sai…he better be there when I get home.
Before she could get too lost in her thoughts Kakashi brought her out with a small cough.
"So, I just thought I'd warn you," he started nonchalantly, "When we get back from Konoha we're going to be meeting our new team."
While her steps didn't falter Sakura's face was picture perfect of surprise, "What?"
Kakashi smiled lightly, "Hai, it's that time of year and the Hokage has selected a Genin team for me."
"We don't need a stupid team, I don't need a stupid team," Sakura argued as she turned her face away, "Our missions will be meaningless, simple, and annoying."
"Now, now Sakura, you need this team if you want to become a Chunin."
"No I don't and you and the Hokage both know it."
Kakashi sighed, she did have a point, "That's true but, you're now old enough where the age difference won't be as bad. Besides our two other teammates seem to be pretty talented."
Sakura rolled her eyes, "That's bullshit and you know it."
"Tsk, tsk Sakura, what would your mother say if she heard you using such foul language," Kakashi teased. He liked riling her up, it seemed the only way that she would express any emotion sometimes. While he wasn't the most expressive of people, Sakura was trying to take it to the extreme.
Sakura internally reprimanded herself, he did this on purpose she was sure of it. Trying to get her to show him any type of feeling considering the mission they just went on. Kami both her parents would reprimand her to the extreme for being so expressive in her dislike for the new arrangement thrust upon her. Immediately schooling her expression she resumed her typical aloof visage, "When do we meet with them?"
"Oh not for a few days…three I think…"
Sakura fought an eye roll, "A few days is not specific Kakashi-sensei."
Kakashi shrugged, "Well the message I got said we're meeting on Friday, at noon, but I figured I could push that back to maybe three or four."
Typical lazy ass, she thought, "I'll be there at noon and if you're not I'll kill the both of them."
He glanced at her with a slightly serious visage, "They are going to be your teammates Sakura, and if you kill them then you can't become a Chunin."
"Asshole," she mumbled under her breath. Kakashi chuckled and Sakura cursed him again for his excellent hearing.
"How about a compromise? I will be on time, for once, and you wait for me to bring them to you?"
"That old balcony near the Academy where I first met you," he smiled over at her.
"You'll be on time right?" Sakura glared slightly at him.
"Ninja's honor," he raised his hand giving her his trademark half crinkle grin.
Sakura nodded once then focused on the trees in front of her. She really didn't want to be on a team. That meant she would have to…trust…other people to protect themselves. Her new teammates would be fresh out of the Academy meaning they were weak, defenseless, and would need to be trained in basic chakra control. Kami…her intense training days with Kakashi were over weren't they. So were the high ranking missions. Her dad was going to through a hissy fit…she could already see it.
Dinner was finished quickly and Sakura let her parents know that she was going out for some night training. Of course night training wasn't what they thought. Night training was her own code phrase for meeting her one and only friend, Sai. They would meet outside the compound at training ground three where she knew they would not be seen or disturbed. And as typical Sai was waiting for her with his sketch book out. Sakura approached him silently, he was one of the only people she ever tested her stalking abilities with because, aside from Kakashi, his criticism always helped her improve.
"You're exactly three minutes and thirty-three seconds late," he commented nonchalantly as he kept drawing, "Personally I think that is too many threes."
Sakura rolled her eyes, "Late dinner, ergo I'm a little late."
"The reason doesn't matter and the explanation was not needed."
Sakura sat next to him, "What are you drawing today?"
Sakura looked up at the large full moon, the night sky was beautifully clear and the moonbeams created a perfect ethereal circle around their host. It was a beautiful sight but the moon wasn't what she wanted, or needed, to talk about.
"How did you know I was here?" she asked curiously. Sakura actually felt she would actually get a leg up on him considering he didn't speak until she was about five feet away.
"The crow you disturbed before entering the training ground," Sai answered, "If you had waited ten more seconds then I probably would not have guessed it was you."
Sakura nodded, "I guess I was trying to be on time."
Sai shrugged, "Never rush when stalking, it'll cause you to lose the element of surprise."
That was true, Sakura would have to work on being more patient. Granted she did have a bit of a temper that was always simmering beneath the surface, but with training she had been making sure it stayed suppressed.
"I actually need your help tonight," she started, "I had a lapse and got angry. The 'I feel nothing' mantra isn't working like it should. And not to mention I'm meeting my Genin team tomorrow afternoon and I know if they are as stupid as I'm suspecting then I'm going to need something better."
Sai nodded, "Alright. Typically in emotion control training that's only the first step. So I'll introduce the second step to you. The second part of the training is 'I don't care.'"
"I don't care," Sakura repeated as she turned to face him fully. He did the same.
"Hai, by saying 'I don't care' you are essentially telling yourself that nothing can bother you because it's not important. So repeat it."
Sakura nodded then repeated it in her stoic voice, "I don't care."
"I don't care."
"You are a terrible ninja."
"I don't care."
"You lack in having any significant skills."
"I don't care."
"You are a failure."
"I don't care."
They continued this process of Sai insulting her in any way he could find and Sakura repeating the same mantra over and over. If Sai detected a hint of emotion on her face he would mark the area that twitched with his ink for Sakura to look over and study later. For her to become completely emotionless nothing about her body could give away her true intentions. This exercise was not only mental it was physical as well.
"Did you know that people want you dead?"
"I don't care."
"And that your family is anticipating your continued training."
"I don't care."
"Danzo is still suspicious although he's still unsure about your power."
"I don't care."
"I will have to stay longer and keep you under surveillance."
"I don't care."
"What if I feed him bad information?"
"I don't care."
"What if I give away the entire plan?"
"I don't care."
"I could be killed."
"I don't care," she finally twitched earning a small ink blot near her eye.
"The eyes are most telling, never let them stray from their focus."
Sakura sighed internally, she honestly wasn't expecting to twitch, "I don't care," she forced out.
Sai immediately painted her lips black, "Control your tone. It's the second most telling way that someone is lying."
"I don't care," she resumed her previous stoic visage. Years of practice with Sai helped with that.
"Break," Sai called as he dipped his brush into the ink.
Sakura sighed minutely but didn't touch the ink on her lips. It was their agreement that she keep all ink spots on her until she could examine herself at home.
The first time Sakura met Sai was when she was five years old. She was training in her Compound and she noticed something odd about the large oak tree in the far part of the training grounds. It only took her advanced mind a few minutes to deduce that a genjutsu had been placed on that tree. She approached cautiously knowing that the person in the tree was new to genjutsu ergo not someone she should be wary of. And she was right; as soon as she dispelled the genjutsu she saw him, sitting nonchalantly on the tree limb kunai in hand.
It took only a few moments for them to size each other up. Sakura asked him his name and he replied that he didn't have one. She thought it was strange considering everyone had to have a name. But that would have to wait until later since she had to find out what he was doing watching her in her tree, in her compound, and covered in a genjutsu. It didn't look good and if he couldn't answer then she would have to try and kill him. She wasn't counting on him being completely honest with her.
"You have ten seconds to explain yourself or I'm going to kill you," a five year old serious Sakura stated.
The boy sighed, "I was told to keep tabs on you. My leader needs information on your abilities."
Sakura blinked, eyes wide, "Why?"
The boy shrugged, "I don't know. I do as he asks and that's it. No questions asked and no clarifications."
"Well you can't stay here. You have to leave."
The boy nodded, "I'll see you later."
He had thoroughly confused Sakura but every day after that initial conversation she noticed the same poor genjutsu over the tree. It was a week later that she confronted him again and received the exact same treatment. But there was also something about him that prevented her from telling her parents. She didn't exactly know what it was but she found that she didn't mind having him watch her. It was then that she found out that he loved to paint in ink. So in order to call him by something other than "boy" she named him Sai.
And he was her biggest secret.
Nobody knew about him; not her father, her mother, or even Kakashi. And Sai in return never reported to Danzo that he and Sakura were...actually speaking to one another. As far as Danzo knew, Sai was keep tabs on his Haruno target and would report anything of significance to him. Sai was there to make sure that the Haruno's were not a threat to Konoha and also to find out just how Sakura came to possess the kekkei genkai. He found his job easy considering whenever he did watch her or they talked, none of that information was revealed, therefore he had nothing to report. Not that he would report anyway.
Sai was present when Sakura's parents began pulling away from her. He was there when she got placed under Kakashi's tutelage. He was shocked when she asked for help in controlling her emotions, but he understood why she wanted his help. Not once when they had met did he show her anything but indifference and now that her parents acted almost like virtual strangers as did the rest of her clan, and that she was taught not to trust anybody in the village…she needed his help and his expertise on the matter. So using Root indoctrination they began her emotional training. Sakura was grateful for his help on the matter or else she wouldn't be as far along in her control as she was.
Then she started training away from the Compound. Sakura couldn't risk Sai being found out. So they started meeting at her and Kakashi's training grounds at night.
"How long do you think you can keep up your act?" Sakura asked.
"Long enough and since you have no information it makes it easier. Any idea when you are going to leave?" Sai asked.
Sakura shook her head, "Nothing. Even my parents don't know."
"Well then I guess there is nothing new to report to Danzo," Sai looked back at his sketchbook, "Not that I'd tell him the plan anyways. I like you more than him."
Sakura didn't betray any emotion or thought at his last statement. She knew he only meant as a friend. Sai couldn't understand the concept of a romantic like; even she didn't completely understand the concept of it. But what Sai did understand was a deep bond of friendship. A year ago he had lost his brother to illness and since then he felt completely isolated from the outside world. But he kept on with his duty to observe and report on Sakura, he couldn't shirk his responsibilities because someone died. People died all the time. It was normal, especially for shinobi.
What he didn't count on was Sakura noticing. She instantly called him out on it. So he told her what happened and she had said she was sorry. He shrugged it off but…there was still a nagging feeling inside that refused to go away. Sakura had identified it as a bond and that if he were to brush it aside then he wouldn't feel it anymore. He would become truly emotionless. Sai knew this was his goal since he started training with Danzo but now that he was at that point…he didn't want to be.
He still wanted a bond. And he found it in Sakura. She was his replacement for his brother…his sister.
"So I'm meeting my Genin team this week," she told him her face staying blank.
Sai nodded, "I knew this."
"Danzo is keeping close tabs on me, it figures you would know."
"Hai. Do you know their names?"
Sakura shook her head.
"Want me to tell you?"
She thought about it and figured it would be better to be prepared than taken by surprise, "Please tell me they are at least decent."
Sai thought about it for a second before answering, "Well one definitely is and the other…not so much. You teammates are Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto."
If Sakura hadn't just gone through her new emotional training she would have let out a stream of curses that she definitely shouldn't being saying, let alone know in the first place. Going on B and A rank missions do expand a person's vocabulary mostly for the bad.
"Great," she stated in her monotone voice, "I'm going to have to save their asses all the time."
"Uchiha Sasuke is a fair shinobi. But Uzumaki Naruto is close to talentless."
Sakura couldn't contain the snort and Sai immediately put an ink blot on her nose. Sakura turned and gave him a deadpanned stare to which he responded with his "I'm trying to hard" fake smile.
"Well it's getting late. I'll see you tomorrow and I can tell you of the woes of working with an incompetent team," Sakura stood brushing off her training pants.
"Aa. But of course I will only know what you think about them because of your words and not because of your voice."
"Hai, until tomorrow Sai."
"Until tomorrow Sakura."
It was official. Sakura was going to kill her team and Kakashi. They were late. Kakashi had promised her that for once in his goddamned life he was going to be on time. Sakura fought hard to keep her emotions in check, she even loosened her fists so she wouldn't cut off the circulation to her arm. It wouldn't do good to be weak when she had three people to kill.
Sakura didn't even bother to turn as Kakashi called out to her. She was standing at the edge of the balcony overlooking the village, her back ram rod straight and legs shoulder width apart.
Taking a deep breath to conceal her anger she spoke in her typical monotone, "You're late."
"Ah, not today Sakura. I arrived exactly on time to the Academy and then we had to walk up here." Sakura could hear the smile in his voice. Oh he delighted in bending the truth. But still, she could not deny the validity of his statement. Technically he was supposed to meet the team at noon and it made sense that they would still be at the Academy waiting to be picked up by their sensei.
So she let it go, because I don't care.
"Sasuke, Naruto, meet your other teammate Haruno Sakura," Kakashi began introductions, "Sakura turn around and meet your team."
She turned slowly and immediately took in the two…boys who would be on her team.
"Sakura, this is Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto," Kakashi pointed to each of the boys.
Sakura remained the picture perfect look of indifference. She started with Naruto, his bright golden blonde hair catching her immediate attention. The Sandaime must have a great sense of humor to assign two people with outlandish hair colors to the same team, not to mention the orange…did he know the meaning of the word stealth? His hands had a plethora of scratches lining them but they weren't the typical look of hours of training. If anything Sakura would guess it was more self-destructive. Over all, he looked like an idiot with large ocean blue eyes and whisker marks on his cheeks. And in the next instant her initial assumption was proved right.
"Wow…Sakura-chan you're pretty," Naruto's mouth fell open and she could swear she saw drool forming.
Taking in her appearance she may not have been dressed in anything formfitting, per se, but it was her pretty face that had Naruto entranced. She had high cheekbones that gave her face a dainty yet sharp feminine look, her large emerald eyes were expressionless but still sparkled in the afternoon sun. Her lips were the perfect rosy pink that paired perfectly with a button nose that turns up just slightly at the end. Her pink hair fell to her waist in long glossy waves, the sides held back by some ribbon and French braids that were secured in the back. Her clothing was rather non-descript she wore black shinobi pants that were loose around her toned legs, on her feet were shinobi issued sandals. For her top she wore a black long sleeved shirt and a maroon sleeveless jacket that reach all the way to her ankles then ended with a collar that opened her neck, the tough leather fabric protecting her from stray kunai; a stark white circle stitched proudly on her back. With a single button the jacket was closed in the front with her equipment belt wrapped around for extra security.
Sakura didn't respond to Naruto's…infatuated claim but immediately shifted her indifferent attention to Sasuke. His dark eyes were narrowed at her. He definitely had potential. She could tell in the way he held himself; there was confidence and a slight knowing gleam to his eyes. Maybe he wouldn't be as big a push over and she was anticipating. Well at least she would only have to look after one teammate. That was a plus in her book.
"It's a pleasure," she intoned dryly then turned to resume her idle vigil of the city below her.
"Right, now it's time for team bonding," Kakashi walked over to where Sakura was standing and turned her back around. Sakura huffed internally. "So now we share our likes, dislikes, goals, and dreams. Who would like to go first?"
"I WILL!" Naruto shouted still staring googlie-eyed at Sakura, "I'm Uzumaki Naruto! I love buying ramen, eating ramen, trying different flavors of ramen, but the best ramen ever is the pork ramen at Ichiraku's! And my dream is to be a better ninja than Sasuke-teme and to become the best Hokage in the world!"
Sakura officially decided that his relentless enthusiasm was annoying. It seriously bugged her to no end and there was no way a talentless boy was ever going to be Hokage. That was ludicrous.
"Right, thank you Naruto," Kakashi nodded, "Who's next?"
Neither Sakura nor Sasuke spoke, bother determined not to participate. Sasuke was stubborn because he didn't feel like talking about himself to people he hardly knew and Sakura was determined not to reveal anything that her team could use against her. After all she wasn't allowed to trust these people. She couldn't trust these people, and while she felt an odd kinship with Kakashi that she vehemently denied if you asked…she would feel no remorse in betraying him.
"Sasuke why don't you start," Kakashi stated.
He grumbled, "Uchiha Sasuke, I like tomatoes, I dislike many things, and my goals in life are none of your business."
"That's rude teme," Naruto commented.
"I don't care dobe."
"At least be nice, Sakura-chan doesn't know anything about us."
"That's true," Kakashi smiled, "Your turn Sakura."
Sakura took a deep breath but carefully kept her face blank and voice monotone, "I'm Haruno Sakura. I like some things, I dislike people who get in my way, and I don't care about goals or dreams."
Nobody spoke and Sakura got the feeling that if there were crickets around they would be able to hear them singing.
"Oh come on not you too!" Naruto exclaimed, "At least Sasuke said he likes tomatoes."
"And I told you I dislike people who get in my way," Sakura retorted stoically, "Now you know something about me."
Sasuke snorted, "Won't be a problem from my end."
Sakura nodded, "Good."
Kakashi sighed internally, this is a great start to the team, he thought sarcastically. Oh well, he definitely expected Sakura's attitude but to also have Sasuke reciprocate…that was just a little much. Fortunately he didn't seem as bad as Sakura because Kakashi could tell his indifference stemmed from trying to match up to his older brother. It was very obvious Sasuke was seeking acceptance and recognition of any kind. And if he showed too much enthusiasm or expected praise he would only get shot down. But that's what happens when you grow up in a prodigy's shadow. Thankfully Sakura didn't have other siblings with the same curse.
"Oi, Kakashi-sensei you didn't tell us about yourself," Naruto turned his determined gaze on him.
"That's because he's the world's most boring person and only enjoys a handful of things," Sakura replied, "You'll figure him out after a week."
Kakashi's shoulders dropped dramatically, "That was harsh Sakura."
She only shrugged in response making Sasuke smirk.
"Well at least tell us how you guys already know each other?" Naruto huffed and folded his arms.
Kakashi straightened, "Sakura has been my personal student for the past four years."
"WHAT!" his whiskered mouth dropped open, "But she's…she's…"
"I'm ten years old," Sakura kept her gaze perfectly schooled but she couldn't help the small sigh that escaped.
"How is that possible?! I failed three years in a row!"
Sakura groaned internally…great, he's completely useless.
"She's the Haruno prodigy dobe," Sasuke answered rolling his eyes at the blonde's antics.
"TEME! How do you know that?" Naruto turned towards him.
"She's younger than us and her last name is Haruno you dobe. And if you had half a brain in your thick skull then you would have figured it out too."
Naruto began pouting, his bottom lip reaching a ridiculous size. Sakura thought that if she poked it with a senbon it would actually pop.
Sasuke lied. Granted he didn't do it very often but the real reason that he recognized Sakura was because his father never shut up about her. Luckily he wasn't the one being bothered about her, that honor was left to his older brother. He sympathized with his aniki, if he had been forced to try and win a girl over he would blow up and throw a giant tantrum. Itachi took it in stride, but he knew his aniki would rather listen to his Otou-san rant than try and meet a girl. Especially one that was seven years younger than him. Sasuke glanced at her again…at least she's easy on the eyes. If she ended up ugly I would tell Itachi not to even bother, no matter how powerful she was supposed to be.
Not to mention that after this initial meeting, Sakura reminded him a lot of his brother in terms of personality. Itachi never showed any true emotion…at least not while his parents were around. Sasuke was the only person to ever see Itachi smile, but even those were few and far between now. It seemed as though his brother was becoming more and more withdrawn the more his Otou-san pressured him. And that alone made Sasuke hate his father.
"Alright so tomorrow we're going to meet for our first group practice. Be at training ground three at five in the morning and don't be late. If you are, I will fail you and send you back to the Academy. And if you fail this test then you will not be allowed to become a ninja for Konohgakure."
Naruto cringed, Sasuke stiffened and narrowed his eyes while Sakura kept her same air of indifference. He was lying and she could tell. The first lie was the time, there was no way on Kami's green earth that her lazy ass sensei would be anywhere at five am. The second was the Academy threat; if he tried to send her back to the Academy then her father would just find her a new private teacher. Granted none were as knowledgeable and powerful as Kakashi but...he was replaceable. As for not being a ninja…well let's just say Kakashi was a master at lying and at intimidation.
Kakashi turned and began walking away, "Oh and don't eat breakfast…you'll throw up."
Once she knew for sure Kakashi was out of sight and hearing range she spoke, "If there's one thing about Kakashi that you should know, he's the best liar I've ever met. Eat a light breakfast, what he said about throwing up is probably true, and you don't need to be at the training grounds until nine in the morning."
Sasuke and Naruto both eyed the smaller girl. "How do you know that?" Naruto asked.
"Like he said, I've been his student for four years. I know him and his habits. You'll thank me in the morning." With that Sakura began walking away in the same direction as her sensei.
"Wait!" Naruto shouted running up to her, "We're a team now let's all go out to eat at Ichiraku's!"
Sasuke snorted but made no adverse comment. Sakura immediately concluded that while they may fight like cats and dogs they actually had some sort of strange bond. How a talented Uchiha could befriend a talentless Uzumaki she had no idea. But that didn't matter because finding out the answer meant that she would have to get to know them which was completely out of the question; as was this lunch invitation.
"No, while you're my teammates you are not my friends. Our business together is only for missions and so that I can get into the Chunin exams," Sakura didn't even bother to look at him. If she had she would have seen surprise followed by hurt. "Just remember my instructions. I can't have incompetent teammates."
Her steps were light and she was grateful that they didn't try to follow. This mandatory meeting was over and she had training to get to.
Nine am rolled around and Sakura walked onto training ground three exactly on the dot. She was mildly surprised to see Sasuke had already arrived at the training grounds and was currently sitting under the shade of a tree. He looked up at her arrival and nodded in her direction. She didn't respond but only began a series of stretches preparing herself for the upcoming training.
"It's customary to return exchanges of greetings," Sasuke stated, "Not to mention it's also the polite thing to do."
Sakura rolled her eyes internally but did not let it show on her face. Instead she straightened from her stretch and sent a small bow in response.
"Hn," he replied as he pulled out an onigiri, "Are you always this punctual?"
"Are you always early?" she countered sitting down in the figure four stretch.
"I arrived at the designated time. When your information turned out to be correct I took a nap and packed a breakfast."
Sakura nodded, "Wise of you not to take me at my word."
Onyx eyes narrowed, "So I should never believe anything that you say?"
"It'd be safer for you if you don't."
Sasuke honestly didn't know what to think about that. He didn't know what to think about her. But one thing was for sure, he knew that typical teams weren't meant to put each other on guard. They were on teams so that bonds could form, so they could progress together as shinobi and become a powerful force for the village. But it seemed that Sakura was willing to destroy everything that meant they were a team. She apparently thought they would slow her down, which is why she stated she hated people getting in her way. Then an errant thought crossed his mind, I wonder if she feels the same pressure as Itachi?
His thoughts were broken when he heard Naruto's huffing and loud foot falls coming into range. He was obviously late, probably from oversleeping. That dobe.
"Sorry guys!" he gasped and bent over to catch his breath, "I overslept and I'm a little late. Did I miss anything?"
Sakura didn't even bothering answering as she continued her stretches.
"He's not here yet dobe," Sasuke answered knowing she wouldn't. She didn't even acknowledge his presence.
"Oh good," the blonde breathed before falling flat on his back.
Sakura finished the series of stretches then instantly moved into light strength training. With practiced ease she performed a flawless hand stand, her body perfectly perpendicular to the ground followed by a small push up. She always had to go slow so as not to lose her balance or break her concentration. But she should have known that she wouldn't have to break her own concentration that someone significantly louder would do it for her.
"Whoa! Sakura-chan, what are you doing?!" Naruto exclaimed sitting up abruptly.
"I'm training Naruto, be quiet," she answered eyes trained perfectly to the ground.
"How is that training?"
For once she couldn't contain the eye roll or the small sigh that escaped her lips, her concentration was officially broken. Bending her body she landed in a back bend before pushing herself upright. Dusting off her pants from stretching she turned and faced the blonde idiot with her typical stoic visage.
"Do you even know what training means?" she asked while folding her arms.
The blonde smiled, "Of course I do. Training means we're getting stronger." She was talking to him and that alone made him happy.
Sakura deadpanned, "Then why did you ask such a stupid question?"
"Because that didn't look like training."
"You don't have to throwing kunai or practicing ninjutsu to be training dobe," Sasuke cut in. For some small reason he felt Sakura was about to kill him, "She's training her body."
"Oh," he scratched his head, "Why?"
Sakura actually growled this time, "Did you learn nothing in the Academy?"
Sakura quickly turned around and walked away from the blonde before she did something that Kakashi would not approve of. How idiotic could one person be?
Sasuke groaned and covered his face, "Way to make an impression dobe."
"What?" he asked a little defensive, "I was just trying to talk to her."
"By making yourself look like an absolute fool? Don't you remember the lecture about taijutsu?"
Naruto scratched his head, "Uhhhhhh…"
"Taijutsu and other types of strength training help the body grow. And the more strength the body develops the more chakra one has access to in his or her body. And with more chakra said shinobi can use lesser jutsu's longer and even learn higher ranking jutsu's. Sakura was training her body so she can have a greater access to chakra."
Naruto didn't say anything but the small "O" his mouth formed let the Uchiha know that his slower counterpart understood.
A moment later Kakashi appeared in a puff a smoke, "Yo! Good morning are you all ready for this morning's training?" He looked around at his Genin team noticing something peculiar.
"Hey Kakashi-sensei let's get going!" Naruto shouted instantly jumping up from the ground.
"Ah first things first are the rules," he waved a finger at Naruto, "I want all three of you to sit right here while I explain them to you."
Sasuke and Naruto immediately took their seats while Sakura slowly sauntered over. With another look Sakura slowly sat down, she knew Kakashi's law was absolute at times and if he said sit she would have to sit. So with practiced ease she sat slowly onto the grass making sure to keep a…safe distance between herself and Sasuke.
"Now, you are going to be tested," he picked up two bells from his pocket, "This is the test. You must take these two bells from me and if you fail then you will be tied up to the pole and watch as your other teammates eat lunch without you."
Naruto noticeably gulped while Sasuke and Sakura remained impassive, they clearly weren't at all intimidated by this threat of no food. His feeling came back even stronger and he wondered if Sakura tipped them off about something. Oh well, he'd have to wait until later to find out.
"So on my mark we will begin and we will go until the bell rings." He turned and set the timer on the middle post.
Finally a bloody break, Sakura thought as she swiftly left the training grounds and headed back into the city. She never planned on staying long anyway, this exercise was more for Sasuke and Naruto's benefit than her own. They would definitely be in for a rude awakening when they went up against the infamous Copy Ninja.
After a brisk sprint she ended up outside Hokage Tower or more specifically the bottom part of it. She gazed up taking in the red painted wood and studying the layout all the way up to the Hokage's office.
Test time. Can't trip any of the protection jutsus, or let the Hokage know that I am here. Breathe, focus, execute.
Striding through the front doors as if she were meant to be there with her head held high she made her way easily up the stairs to the third floor. From there she stopped near a window that overlooked the back wall of the tower.
Stealing a quick glance around and finding herself in the clear she leapt from the window and immediately climbed up the wall holding tightly with chakra laden fingers. She quickly scaled the side of the building coming up to a locked window, except it wasn't only a locked window it was also protected by several jutsus. But she had the perfect counter for that.
Slowly she activated the second level of her kekkei genkai her eyes shining burnt orange in color.
Time to put that jutsu to work.
It was her second A rank mission and it was going badly. She and Kakashi were fighting against ten Cloud shinobi trying to get out of the territory and into neutral ground. Sakura was pinned against a tree with a deep wound to her thigh. The first stage of her kekkei genkai was activated and she could see the attack that was coming and she quickly cast a genjutsu to try and cover a feeble escape. It had fooled one of the shinobi but not the other.
"Little girl," he grinned wickedly at her, "Your genjutsu has no effect on me. I can slip through anything with my lightning."
Sakura braced herself against the ground she was laying on and stared hard at the enemy ninja standing over her.
"Sakura!" She heard Kakashi yell as he continued fighting off his own Cloud shinobi.
"Sakura eh? Pretty name for a pretty girl."
Drawing upon the last of her reserves Sakura stood on shaky legs, "I'm too young for you, you pervert."
"Good thing I'm not interested in children then."
"Before you kill me, show me that move one more time," she breathed heavily standing her ground.
"Oh you wish to see it again?"
"I wish to test it against my best genjutsu," she replied already forming the hand seals.
The shinobi only chuckled as he activated his power once more except he was now performing it for a pair of dark orange eyes.
"I see," Sakura stated, "You conform your chakra using lightning element to the flow of chakra in the genjutsu rendering yourself immune to it. I will definitely perfect this jutsu to use in the future." With the final sign Sakura finished her genjutsu which strangled her opponent since he had not expected the sudden shift in chakra, thereby he was unable to conform.
Focusing on matching her chakra with the genjutsus covering the window Sakura formed the hand signs necessary and easily bypassed the poorly locked window and slipped inside the building.
Once her eyes adjusted from the bright sunlight from outside Sakura glanced around the large room, the archives. One wouldn't normally think that a room this important would be so easy to break into. But then again Sakura had been breaking into the room for two years. Her first attempt warranted her immediate audience with the Hokage. Fortunately they had been able to come to an understanding; Sakura wanted to learn and the Hokage appreciated an outside opinion on different matters that concerned the village, especially the more outdated policies that hadn't been changed since the founding of the village.
So in an effort to become more skilled in infiltration the Hokage had different security measures placed around the archives at one and only window, and Sakura's job was to bypass it without alerting any ANBU guards. If she could, she was free to choose any scroll from the archives to read and she would give her notes to the Hokage. If she failed then she would have to return a different day and try again.
But since she was successful Sakura took her time to peruse the shelves and pick a scroll that she hadn't already read and left comments on. Her father thought her idea was a brilliant way to get into the Hokage's good graces. That way when she eventually left the clan wouldn't be suspected of consorting with the enemy. So she kept up the practice, in her father's eyes, in order to stay in good with the Hokage and the village. But for Sakura…she did this for herself. She wanted to learn as much as possible. To her training wasn't only for the body but also for the mind. By reading these scrolls and thinking through procedures she learned a broader form of thinking. She learned that not everything in life was black and white but various shades of grey.
Besides if her plan were to work she would need to become an expert in many things.
She turned another corner on the shelves and continued to scan for the next best scroll to pick from. Then she found it.
That wasn't here before, she thought to herself. It must have been a new village considering it was in the political section more specifically in the yellow section, indicating the Hokage was unsure where exactly this village stood in relation to a threat against Konoha. She pulled the scroll and tucked into the inner pocket of her jacket. Sakura was only allowed one scroll per visit and she was fairly certain that she could spend a fair amount of time studying the information on Sound considering in the near or distance future she would be spending an uncertain amount of time there. So in all reality she was preparing herself for the inevitable.
Walking back towards the window Sakura did a final scan of her surroundings inside. The Hokage had surprised her occasionally by placing a guard inside the archives. She was definitely surprised the first time but more cautious the second go round. But that hadn't happened in a few months. Even so caution was warranted every time she entered and exited the archives.
Bleeding easily back outside of the window she locked it then quickly climbed down the wall and onto the ground. Brushing the dirt off her pants she didn't get two steps away from the wall when a squad of ANBU and one very large dog surrounded her.
"Kunoichi-san," one ANBU stated, his voice muffled by his mask, "You were seen exiting the archives which you are not permitted to enter. You shall accompany us to the Hokage's office for punishment."
Sakura sighed internally, "Lead the way Taichou."
A sharp knocked drew the Hokage from the scroll he was reading, "Enter."
His eyes widened minutely as ANBU Squad One walked in with the Haruno prodigy between them.
"Hokage-sama," The Captain began, "We found this kunoichi exiting the window that leads to the archives. And it appears that she also had taken scrolls from said room." The Captain placed two scrolls on the Hokage's desk.
The Hokage stared blankly at the two scrolls as the Captain stepped back by his team. He glanced at the four perfectly still ANBU then at Sakura. He smiled lightly at the blank yet slightly irritated expression on her face. He would admit that she was one of the hardest children he had ever read but after years of seeing her in his office for various reasons he was beginning to pick up on the subtle signs she gave off.
"I take it you didn't inform them of our arrangement Sakura-chan?" the Hokage asked with a small twinkle in his eye.
Sakura gave him a deadpanned stare, "You really think they would have listened?"
He chuckled, "Probably not. I see you've finished with your last scroll."
"Hai, and the one on Sound was my next assignment."
He nodded as he opened the finished scroll.
"Hokage-sama," another ANBU asked, "Is this kunoichi permitted to enter into the archives?"
"Hai Hana-san, Sakura-chan has my permission to enter the archives and retrieve any scroll she finds of interest. That is if she can bypass the security measures placed on the window and enter and exit without being caught. Looks like you didn't succeed today though."
"I was careless. It won't happen again I assure you," Sakura replied stoically.
"That I do believe. And I also believe that introductions are in order. Sakura meet the members of ANBU Squad One. Inuzuka Hana, Uchiha Shisui, Takahashi Mota, and their Captain, Uchiha Itachi."
Sakura glanced up at each of the members as they removed their masks.
"ANBU Squad One, meet the Haruno prodigy and heir to the clan Haruno Sakura."
Sakura nodded politely to each of the members, "It's a pleasure."
"Huh how old are you kid?" Hana asked her smile widening showing off her canines.
"That information is none of your business."
Hana's eyes widened while both Shisui and Mota snickered lightly, Itachi remained completely stoic.
"Prodigy huh," Hana turned to face her fully, her canine companion resting on the ground, "Well I remember hearing something about you graduating early. You're training under Kakashi-senpai are you not?"
Sakura didn't answer just stared blankly back at her.
"Sakura-chan has been kind enough to offer her opinions on different subject matters. Her views on different subjects are very interesting to read. Some I have even considering bringing up in the Council Meetings."
"So you're the Hokage's unofficial advisor. You seem a little young for that position," Hana smirked.
"If you remember correctly Inuzuka-san I never gave you my age." Sakura's patience was really starting to thin. First with the capture and detainment and now with the questioning which was a blatant invasion of her personal space and comfort, not to mention she was skipping out on training and Kakashi was bound to be angry about that. Oh well, Sasuke and Naruto's combined incompetence will keep him busy for a while.
"You are an impertinent little brat aren't you?"
Sakura saw her hand coming and figured she was going to slap her on the shoulder. But with a last minute angle Hana decided to ruffle Sakura's perfectly styled hair.
Reacting completely on instinct Sakura immediately palmed a kunai and sliced the offending palm. Hana growled as she inspected the cut.
"Do not touch me without my expressed permission Inuzuka-san," Sakura threatened with narrowed eyes. The kunai's tip still held the small amount of blood from her palm. A small amount of KI was directed to the Inuzuka at being so informally treated. She couldn't believe her audacity! She wasn't a bloody child to be toyed with!
"Impressive Sakura-san," Shisui complimented receiving a well-earned glare from Hana, "What? Not my fault your instincts were too slow and she was able to cut you. Rookie move."
Sakura quickly cleaned the blood from the kunai on her black sleeve and schooled her emotions. She needed a harsh reprimand from Sai for her blatant lack of control today, "Hokage-sama may I have my new scroll. I left training in order to bring you my finished product and also to get a new one."
"You had training with your Genin team today correct?"
"Hai, Kakashi-sensei will be a little angered that I have left."
"Well it seems your ideas on village security are exquisite. This is something that will definitely be drafted up and used in the very near future. Should we succeed no jutsu would be able to penetrate it without us knowing. And no unwanted person can sneak in when the gates are closed," the Hokage rolled up the scroll and handed the other to Sakura, "You found this in the Yellow section?"
"Hai, Political Yellow."
He nodded, "Let me know if you think that should be changed."
Sakura bowed, "May I use the window?"
Without a backward glance Sakura jumped out of the window and headed back to the training grounds.
"I indulge her," the Hokage stated as he watched her zip across the rooftops, "Mostly because it's putting Haruno Arashi on good terms with me again. But also because she does have a brilliant mind, her prodigal sense if nurtured properly will grow exponentially. She will become a great asset to the village. And probably ANBU around the same age as you Itachi-san and you Shisui-san and her current sensei; if not earlier."
"She is that skilled?" Mota asked.
The Hokage nodded, "Hai. She has inherited her father's brilliant mind and her mother's excellent chakra control. Once she reaches the final stages of her kekkei genkai there won't be much that she can't do."