After being rescued by Gon, Sakura decided that she do something to thank him. At first, she'd offered him money, but he'd turned her down.

"You don't need to give me money," Gon had said, "I just did what anyone else would do."

"Not a lot of people would've jumped at the chance to help me like you did," Sakura had said, "There must be something I can do to make it up to you!"

Gon's stomach growled, and he sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. "Well, there is one way you can make it up to me..."

And that was how she ended up at Ichiraku with Gon. Their waitress, a woman named Ayame, placed a small bowl in front of Sakura and a larger bowl for Gon that was filled with ramen and pork.

"Thank you for the food!" Gon shouted as soon as the bowl of ramen was placed in front of him. He then broke his chopsticks apart and started to spoon the noodles into his mouth. As Sakura watched her rescuer practically inhale his ramen, she couldn't help but be reminded of Naruto.

'He eats exactly like him too!' Inner Sakura chimed in.

Gon eventually finished his bowl of ramen and leaned back in his seat. "So Sakura, you're a ninja right?"

"Yeah, but I'm only a Genin though." Sakura said

"Well then why did you let those guys get the jump on you?" Gon asked, "They weren't being subtle when they were following you."

"I...wasn't paying much attention." Sakura said, "You see..."

Before long, Sakura began to tell Gon about everything, she told him about the mission to Wave and how frightened she was during the mission, the way Sasuke had treated her once they had gotten back from Wave, and she told him about her own insecurities. There was just something about Gon that made her feel as though she could trust him, maybe it was because of the earnest way he listened to her when she talked, but Sakura found herself opening up to Gon.

"Well I can see where your teammate is coming from," Gon said, "It sounds like you didn't take being a ninja seriously."

"...You're right." Sakura sighed and looked down at her bowl of ramen. She'd never taken training seriously, she'd completely ignored tajitsu in favor of learning the more practical elements of jutsu. The Wave mission had been her first real combat experience, and she completely and utterly failed.

"Still, that doesn't mean that you're useless."

Sakura's shook her head, "Compared to Naruto and Sasuke, I'm-"

"Well then you'll just need to train," Gon said, "I'm willing to bet that your teammates trained a lot to get to where they are now, all you need to do is to catch up to them."

"But...where would I even start?" Sakura asked, "I don't know what I should even be working on."

"Then you should ask your teacher," Gon said, "If you ask him for advice, he might point you in the right direction."

"I guess." Sakura said as Ayame handed her the bills for Gon and her lunch. Sakura gave the woman the woman 70 ryo in order to pay for the ramen.

"And if he doesn't want to help, I'd be perfectly willing to help you get stronger." Gon said as he got up from his seat."I live on the first floor in the apartment complex that's next to the hospital, if you want to drop by my apartment number is 144."

Gon waved at Sakura. "See you later Sakura!"

Sakura waved back at the man before she got up from her seat and made her way back home. While Gon's offer of training seemed nice, Sakura didn't think that she'd need training right now. After what they had gone through in Wave, Sakura was sure that Kakashi would ease up on them a little bit before thrusting them into another mission. He wouldn't do anything too crazy, right?

.

.

.

"I've decided to enroll you guys in the Chunin Exams!" Kakashi announced once Sakura, Naruto, and Sasuke had gotten to the training grounds.

Sakura's eye twitched. Maybe she'd have to take Gon up on his offer after all...