Disclaimer: Still don't own any of it

Sakura sat in the bath, letting the warm water ease her aching body.

Training had been a lot harder than usual today. If it wasn't the lessons from Kabuto on her medical training, it was the training from the other Sound shinobi on ninjitsu. Sakura had always known that physical attributes were seriously lacking, but she did not know that she was this bad.

It was a wonder that she even passed the academy.

The bathtub she was in was pretty simple; a makeshift tub made of wood and had to be filled with buckets of hot water. There were servants to do that, something that Sakura was glad for.

The room was small and seemed to have been cut out of stone, which was just about all of buildings that the young girl had been in so far. This was actually the third hideout that she had been in since her defection six months ago. All of the bases were underground and hidden well from enemies.

The Sound Village itself was apparently their next stop. She was actually curious to see what it looked like since from what she had heard, it had yet to be seen by any foreigners. From what little she had heard from other Sound shinobi, it had a lot of trees as well as snakes.

There was rustling from the drape covering the room and Sakura turned to see a female servant placing a towel next to the tub. Sakura relaxed somewhat, though she was still getting used her new environment.

She had encountered very few female Sound shinobi so far, not counting the chunin exam. So far, it had been only males and that made the young girl a little nervous.

Feeling that she had soaked in the tub for long enough, Sakura stood up and reached for the towel. Wrapping it tightly around her body, she stepped out of the water and grabbed her clothing. Seeing that she had everything, she moved aside the shower curtain and headed to her room.

As she passed other male shinobi, they failed to make notice of her and continued on their way. Sakura was surprised at this since she half-expected a leer of some kind. Granted she was still very young and had yet to develop a noticeable chest, something she wondered would happen in the future; if she lived that long.

Entering her room and closing the door, Sakura slipped off the robe and looked at herself in the mirror.

Her body had undergone some changes since she had left Kohona. Her chest was starting to fill out slightly and muscles were forming because of the constant training she had received so far. There were also scars visible from when she had trained under Orochimaru.

As part of their deal, the Snake Sanin had taught the girl as much as he could before handing her off to Kabuto. Sakura could only be taught very few jitsus from Orochimaru Because of her chakra reserves; most only being able to fit her level. The jitsus were mostly defensive in nature, though one could be used for assassination.

The man had demonstrated the move on the girl personally, which had left a nasty scar on her upper thigh. While the wound had not been life threatening, it reminded her on who she was dealing with.

One thing Sakura excelled at was chakra control. It made her an excellent student under Kabuto, who though trained her hard, was somewhat respectful towards the girl. So far, she had been taught healing jitsus and the basic form of chakra scalpels.

Slipping on some clothes, Sakura lay down on the bed and closed her eyes. Tomorrow, she was going to be given a break from her training, allowing her some rest while Orochimaru and Kabuto handled other matters. She wasn't sure what was going on, but was glad for a break.

She had no idea what she was going to do. It wasn't like the base had any places to shop for new clothes. The base did have a pool though; however with Sakura's lack of swimwear, she wasn't about to take a dive naked.

Turning over to her right side, Sakura contemplated using the special sleep jitsu that Orochimaru had taught her.

In the first month of her defection, Sakura had nightmares about her murder of Kakashi. Every night, the man's covered up face appeared in her dreams and raged at the girl for what she had done. Though Sakura had tried to put the incident behind her and focus on her training, her dead teacher's face continued to haunt her. Fortunately for her, Orochimaru had displayed a very rare touch of sympathy and had taught Sakura a jitsu that placed its user in a type of sleep that prevented dreaming; like being knocked out during a battle.

Sakura thought about Kohona and wondered if they had declared her dead or not. She knew obviously that she would have been acknowledged as a missing nin by now. However, due to how weak she was at the time, it would not be a too high of a rank.

She wondered how Sasuke was. Sakura knew that he was probably still in custody after his failed attempt to defect. From what little she heard, Tsunade had failed to gain the support to execute the young Uchiha; the Council had overrun her as well as the Kohona citizens. Though she still had hope, Sakura knew that Sasuke probably never gave her a second thought.

The less she thought of Naruto, the better. Sakura blamed everything that she had endured on the orange-clad shinobi. The rational part of her brain knew that this was not the case; however, it was buried beneath the rage and hatred that had poisoned her soul.

Sakura vowed to become stronger just so that she could one day crush Naruto beneath her feet.

There wasn't anyone else she could think of. Sakura knew that her parents were overcome with grief in her disappearance. Once she advanced in rank, Sakura promised herself to send them some massage that she was alright.

Closing her eyes, Sakura felt the feeling of sleep over come her. Within minutes, the young girl was out like a light.

"Any progress?" asked Orochimaru as he entered the laboratory.

"None; if there is a way to turn off the sharringan; it isn't recorded here," informed Kabuto as he looked up from the scroll he was reading.

"Now I wish that I had spent more time gathering info on the Uchihas before leaving Kohona," said the Snake Sanin with annoyance.

When the sharringan eye had first been implanted in Orochimaru, the effects were almost immediate. Using the eye, he copied jitus that would have taken him months to learn on his own. However, there was a cost.

The eye could not be turn off; thus it was considered a chakra drain when it was not needed. Orochimaru had to keep it covered up, which was rather annoying to the Snake Sanin. Though his minions never said it out loud in fear for their lives, he knew they thought of the word Cyclops when they saw him.

"There is a possible but remote source for information on the sharingan," said Kabuto. Orochimaru looked at him in interest.

"Go on," ordered the Sanin, curious.

"We know that the Uchiha originated from the Hyuga. It could be that the Hyuga might have detailed records on the sharingan," stated the speckled subordinate.

"Hmm," said Orochimaru, considering the younger man's words. This was one of the times that the Snake Sanin was glad that Kabuto was at his side. Even with a mind as brilliant at Orochimarus could not think of everything.

"The problem though is that the Hyuga guard their secrets closely; it will be rather difficult to acquire access to them in Kohona," remarked Kabuto.

"Maybe not; I know for a fact that the Hyuga have hidden monasteries located all over the Fire Country; there happens to be one close to our border with them," informed the Snake Sanin.

"Really? Will it have the information we need?" asked the assistant.

"Possibly; I don't want to waste the trip if it turns out to be a useless endeavor," Orochimaru said.

"Then why not send out newest recruit as a test of loyalty?" suggested Kabuto with a smile.

"That is a good idea; especially since she will no doubt be facing Kohona shinobi in getting across the border. She will have to kill in order to accomplish her mission," said the Sound Leader with a smirk.

"Shall I order her out then," asked Kabuto.

"Yes but I will brief her on the mission; do you think she is capable of accomplishing such a task?" asked Orochimaru.

"When she first got here? Then no; however she is a very skilled learner and has improved greatly over the time that she has been in our graces. While she is not on the level to fight a major battle, she is capable of completing this task," informed the speckled man.

"You like her" stated the Sanin bluntly.

"I like her potential; she has the possibility of being a great asset to us and I don't want to lose that just yet. Sakura has also done us a great deed in getting rid of the Kakashi," Kabuto said with respect.

"That is true and I admire her duplicity in the task; summon her to me in the morning," ordered Orochimaru as he turned to leave. Kabuto stood up and bowed in response.

After a while, Kabuto stood up and decided to get some rest. Putting the scroll he was reading away, the young man exited the lab and headed towards his quarters.

Due to his skill as a medical shinobi, Kabuto's quarters were right next to Orochimarus in the case of an emergency. The Snake Sanin was gifted with a great many skills and jitsus, but Kabuto far outclassed him in regards to medical practices. It made the young man indispensable.

Walking down the hall, the shinobi stopped suddenly in front of Sakura's quarters. Opening the door slightly, he peered in to see if the girl was still up. From what he could see, Sakura seemed to be sleeping soundly.

What he told Orochimaru was the truth; he did like the girl's potential. Her chakra control was very impressive; almost on a level as himself. The fact that Tsunade had let go of such a prized student made Kabuto smile.

In time, if Sakura survived, she would get stronger under his tutelage. Together, they would be a powerful pair and if he could sway her, he could finally accomplish his dream of wresting the control of the Sound Village away from Orochimaru.

Then the world would have a new force to fear.

Author's Note: I am deeply sorry for the late update; didn't think this fic would take off so well. The next chapter should be up in a few weeks and future updates will be longer. Also, sorry for the errors I made; I have yet to pick up a Beta for this fic.

Next chapter has Sakura on her first solo mission and she will shed blood. Thus her journey continues.

Please R&R!