Sakura hears a voice in her head.

At first, it was nothing much, really. It had been just a word here and there, or a comment at the most inappropriate situation, but the point was that Sakura knew that she heard a voice inside her head. And it always sounded like a boy's. Sakura should be perturbed by this fact, but she wasn't. She was just glad that she had the strange voice backing up in her head. Whenever she was hurt, the voice soothed her, when she was scared it calmed her down, when she was sad it cheered her up, when she was angry it helped her cool down –or urge her up to beat the offender into a pulp, but that's not the point- In short, the voice was her Guardian Angel. It scolded her when she was wrong, helped her out when she was stuck in something, and teased her when she embarrassed herself –like when she had declared her love for Sasuke very loudly in the Kunoichi Class, and had turned beet red when most of the girls started insulting her along with Ino, her best friend, and the remaining girls who weren't interested in Sasuke at that time had made fun of her.

The voice was always there with her whenever she needed it, and she was glad for it.

But it was always brief, and always in her mind only, and had not much influence outside it. But that changed a fateful day, which also happened to be the day of her sixth birthday…..


Sakura just stared.

And stared.

And stared.

Honestly, they weren't even remotely interesting –hideous even, if you ever asked her opinion- and she was sure that is she ever went anywhere near Ino-pig wearing these, she was sure her former-bestfriend-now-rival would cackle at these hideous things and insult her. Her obvious reaction should be to throw this monstrosity away, and demand if her family had gone nuts, but unfortunately, she couldn't.

First, and the more logical reason, was that her Grandma stood only a few metres away, gauging her expressions nervously, as if wishing that her granddaughter like her present –because honestly the woman didn't even get much time to ponder over a birthday gift for her only granddaughter's birthday, let alone buy one- and not to throw a tantrum like she usually does, and really how can she disappoint her grandma when she was looking at her with such a hopeful expression?

And the second reason, which didn't even made any sense to her, was because her brain had short-circuited. Literally. She just stared blankly at them, not knowing what to do. Her inner was being suspiciously quite. Usually, he wouldn't stop complaining about one thing or another –being the loud mouthed idiot he is- so really, it was very strange that he was suddenly quiet, and eerily so.

What was so interesting in some Orange Goggles anyways?

"So, did you like it?" Sayuri Haruno asked as she eyes her granddaughter nervously, who had been staring at the gift for about quite sometimes now.

"I love it." She said, her voice turning hoarse slightly as a lone tear rolled down her cheeks from her right eye.


Sakura didn't know why, but Inner insisted on wearing the orange goggles everywhere. At first, she had thought that inner would soon get fed up with his new obsession with these goggles, but boy, was she wrong. She had taken down her goggles for bath this morning, and Inner started ranting in her mind about how careless she was being, and what if she forgot where she had kept the goggles, and he even had the gall to say that 'what if the poor goggles would run away from her, thinking that she had abandoned them?' For Kami's sake, these were just goggles! It's not like they'd suddenly get a pair of legs out of nowhere!

What was so special about these goggles anyways?

Even though Sakura won't ever agree, but truth was that she has gotten to like the orange goggles. True, Grandma Sayuri has really the worst color choice ever –because orange, seriously?- she had come to like the bright shade of her orange goggles. Even though it clashes with almost all of her pretty dresses –except the orange skirt, which once again is because of the courtesy of Grandma Sayuri- she liked wearing her goggles. It made inner happy, and Sakura liked it when Inner was happy. When he as happy, he is less ranting, and more funny and helpful.

She may not like those orange goggles as much as Inner did, but it doesn't mean it gave others right to make fun of her Inner's precious, precious goggles.

"I thought you'd have a better fashion sense than this, Forehead." Ino sneered at Sakura, who sat alone in the field and was arranging flowers for the Kunoichi class, like many of the girls were doing under the eyes of Akira-Sensei. "I mean Orange Goggles, really?"

Sakura looked up at Ino, unimpressed, and said "And what's wrong with my goggles, Ino-pig? I think they're quite cute."

'Yeah, you tell her, Outer!' Her Inner cheered for her.

Ino snorted and said "Except for the fact that they're orange, and hideous, and clash horribly with your outfit? Nothing. It makes your large forehead stand out even more."

Sakura bristled at her comment.

'Hey! How dare she insult My Goggles?!' Inner screeched out in outrage.

'She just insulted us and all you can think about is of those hideous goggles?' Sakura thought back disbelievingly.

'My goggles are not hideous.' Inner grumbled about how girls these days have zero fashion sense.

Sakura snorted inwardly and thought back 'Yes, it is.'

'No, it's not.'

'Yes.'

'No.'

'Yes.'

'No.'

'Ye-'

Ino's shrill voice cut through their mental argument-

"If you keep wearing that thing, then Sasuke would never even look at you."

Ouch. That was a low blow. Even though he never liked it, Inner knew how much Sakura adores Sasuke. It almost always reminded him of how smitten he had been with Rin. And he never got to tell his true feelings to Rin, who had died because of Kaka-

Stop Right there, no need to go through that entire mental trauma once again. Now's not the time to think about that shit.

He felt sick of how Ino treated Sakura. Sure, Sakura can be sometimes annoying and ill-tempered, but he knew that all this crap was started by Ino. Sakura had thought of Ino as her best friend, since that one time when she scared away her bullies and had given her a red ribbon as a token of their friendship. But when Sakura confessed her feelings for Sasuke to her –which he still thinks is just puppy love, and nothing else- Ino began to get distant, and even started helping out Ami and her friends to bully Sakura. If it hadn't been for him, her Inner, she'd be still that meek little girl who was too shy to speak to anyone, thinking that others would make fun of her slightly larger than normal forehead.

To think that once best friends would turn out to be rivals just because of a puny little thing like love.

And it wasn't even love, per se. It was just an obsession. He was sure this phase would pass. Er, he hoped it would.

Even though it wasn't true love per say, Ino had no right to hurt Sakura's feelings like that. No one –other than him- was allowed to criticize Sakura like that.

"Being pretty is not everything in this world." In was taken aback when she heard Sakura's voice, which was slightly hoarser than usual. It was as if a dark aura surrounded her, and her emerald green eyes glared at her, especially her right one. The flower bouquet in her hands was crumpled by her tight grip. Ino took a step back in fear when Sakura said "Beauty means nothing if you're rotten from inside. If Sasuke cares about my outer beauty, then he doesn't deserve me. Beauty comes from within, Ino, remember it."

Saying this, she turned around and stormed out of the field, leaving a baffled Ino behind.


"Oh no! I'm late for class!" Sakura screeched as she quickly grabbed her towel and clothes and rushed into bathroom.

'And whose fault is that?'

'Yours!'

'WHAT? How is it my fault? I wasn't the one who insisted on reading a romance novel till midnight?'

'You could have woken me up on time, at least, Inner!'

'And what fun would that be, Outer?'

'I hate you!'

'You wish!'

Sakura growled under her breath as she got ready as soon as possible –all the while arguing with Inner- and quickly ran out of the house, ignoring her breakfast since she was getting late.

'At least have breakfast, you idiot! We didn't even eat dinner last night because of that dieting of yours! And you're only six! If you keep this up, you're gonna starve us to death!'

'Oh, hush you!'

'Go back right now and finish breakfast, Outer!'

'But Iruka Sensei will give us detention if we are late! And I don't want to look bad in front of Sasuke!'

'Damn you and your Sasuke!'

'Inner! Don't say a bad word about Sasuke!'

'Sorry!' Her Inner squeaked out. She just shook her head fondly and took a shortcut to the Academy. She was nearing the Academy when Inner suddenly interrupted her train of thoughts –which were all about Sasuke, obviously.

'Hey, look!'

'What?' She turned her head towards the direction Inner pointed to her, and found herself looking at an old woman who was carrying a heavy bag of groceries. The woman was panting heavily, as she dragged the bag with her. Sakura felt sympathy for the old woman. She'd have helped the woman, but she was already getting late for her class, hence she didn't have the time to help anyone out.

'Don't you think we should help her?'

'But we're already late for class and Iruka-Sensei-'

'-would be proud of you since you helped out another person in need. We are training to become a Ninja, aren't we? And don't Ninjas protect the village and everyone in it? So shouldn't we help out those who need our help?'

'But If I'm late I will be punished! And then Sasuke would never even talk to me and-'

'Do you ever think of anyone except Sasuke? He never talks to us anyways, it's not like he'd suddenly start talking to you if you rush towards your class now. And really, are you going to leave behind a helpless old woman just because of Sasuke What if it had been Grandma Sayuri, instead of some random elder woman? Would you have done the same thing then, Outer?'

Sakura froze up at his comment. She then sighed and thought back 'Alright, but I don't want to be later than I already am.'

'Don't worry, it would only take a minute or two to help the old lady, and then we'll be back at the Academy before even Iruka-Sensei knows it.'

Oh boy was he so wrong.


"Sakura! Where have you been? You are late by two hours!" Iruka yelled at the pink haired girl, who just squeaked out and bowed to him in apology.

"I'm so sorry, Iruka Sensei! I was carrying a bag of groceries for an old lady and lost track of time!" Sakura said as she bowed down to him once again.

Iruka blinked his eyes in shock and said in a suspicious tone "You didn't meet Kakashi on your way here by any chance, have you?"

Sakura just looked back at him with confusion "…..Sensei?"

It didn't help the matter that Inner was suddenly deathly quiet in her mind, which was quite opposite of how she had been ranting in her mind about how he didn't like Sakura fantasying about Sasuke in her mind, which was his territory.

Iruka pinched the bridge of his nose and said with a sigh "Nothing. Just go to your seat and be on time from now on, okay?"

"Alright Sensei!"


"Sorry, I'm late! A little girl's kitten got stuck in a tree and I had to rescue it!"


"I helped an Old Man cross the street and then carry his bags to his house, and lost track of time! Sorry!"


"I was weeding out Old Lady Hana's Garden and got late!"


"Sorry sensei! Old man Shuuya asked me to clean his roof, and I couldn't say no!"


"Hehehehe! I'm late again? I swear it's not my fault! The orphanage children wanted me to play with them, and didn't let me go for hours!"


"Sensei, you remember that old Lady Honora who manages that Bookstore in the North Part of Leaf Village, right? She asked me to take care of her Bookstore while she spends some time with her grandson who is only here for two days, and that's why I'm late. I'm so sorry, sensei!"


"Sorry Sensei, I-"

"ENOUGH SAKURA!" Iruka yelled at her, with his face red with anger. "This is the eleventh time in this month that you've been late for class!" Poor Iruka, he was having a really bad day. First he woke up on the wrong side of his bed, then spilled his coffee over his shirt because of which he had to change his uniform again, misplaced his grading papers somewhere in the staff room such that he could find it nowhere, and then he had to deal with Naruto, who had painted the school walls Orange. And now another student of his is getting out of hands with her lateness. He had had enough shit for one day.

"As a punishment, you will stay back after class for your detention."

Sakura froze up. Never in her life had she got detention, ever. This is not fair! She was just only late by an hour today! This is way better than the last time when she was late by three hours! How can Iruka sensei do this to her?

"B-But sensei-!"

"I don't want to hear any more excuses from you, Sakura!"

Sakura's lips quivered and her eyes filled with tears. She didn't want to go to detention! She had heard horrible rumors about detentions. She didn't want to go to detention! But if she didn't, they'd tell her parents about her tardiness, or worse, expel her from Academy!

What will her parents think of her now? Will they be angry? Disappointed? And what about Sasuke? Would he be worried for her? He must be, right?

She looked at Sasuke from the corner of her eyes and realized that Sasuke was looking out of the window, not even caring what was going on in the class. He didn't care about her at all. Or about anyone else.

It's so cruel, isn't it she cared so much about Sasuke, yet the boy didn't even care about her one bit. It's like she didn't exist to him.

Maybe she didn't.

'Oh Sakura…..'

She blocked Inner's comforting voice, not willing to listen to him. He had been right from the start, hasn't he? He had told her not to waste her time with Sasuke, because he knew didn't care for her at all. He even told her to forget about Sasuke when that one time she had gathered up enough courage to confess her feelings to Sasuke and the boy had just brushed her off and called her annoying. But still, she tried harder to impress him, in hopes that one day Sasuke would talk to her and acknowledge her, but No! He never even looked her way.

So she really meant nothing to him, does she?

A tear slid down her cheek as she nodded to her Sensei and bowed down to him. "Alright, Sensei."


Sakura furiously scratched the floor of the classroom with her scrub, all the while screaming profanities at Sasuke inside her mind –which honestly wasn't much since she was a six year old, and hence didn't know much curse words- all the while Inner comforted her with his soothing voice. Her Inner may be an idiot most of the time, but he was also compassionate, and that was more than enough for her.

Usually, she'd rant out her frustrations to get out her anger, but she can't do that now since she wasn't alone here. Iruka Sensei had given detention to her and another boy from her class, by the name of Naru- something. Honestly, she didn't know about tis boy much. He was the class clown, hence she had always tried to stay away from him so that she wasn't influenced by his stupidity.

After all, Inner's stupidity was enough to last her a lifetime.

'HEY!'

Some strange CREAK! And CLANG! Sound interrupted her mental rants, and she looked up to see the blonde boy doing something with wires. Where did he get them anyway? He was hanging around the wires, arranging them to the door, and attaching something to the wires. What is it? Some kind of dung bombs or something?

She was torn between ignoring him, and asking him about what he was doing. In the end her curiosity got better of her, and she dropped the scrub into the bucket of water and walked towards the blonde boy. She waited for him to turn around, but after five minutes when he still didn't acknowledged her presence, she tapped his shoulder and asked "Hey, What are you doing?"

The blonde boy screamed in surprise, making her help in shock and step back from him. The boy lost his balance as he tripped on the ground, head first. He squeezed his eyes shut and groaned as he sat up and turned towards her.

She was about to help him up, but then he opened his blueblueblueblue eyes and she felt her heart leap to her throat.

Her mind blanked out, and suddenly an image of an older blonde man occurred before her, instead of the blonde boy.

She croaked out hoarsely, when she finally found enough courage to speak up-

"Minato sensei?"