This is the prologue of a multichapter Sakura & Sasuke romance fic. If you don't like it, don't read it.

hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: Not mine, just splashing around in the naruto puddle.

Sakura's Blight
A story by simplyteesh

Chapter One

In the past I had been considered weak; the dead weight of team seven. My twelve year old self had not yet developed in terms of my body and my ninja skills. Sure I was quick witted and smart, but that wasn't enough to get by in the ninja profession and deep down I knew that. Despite my lack of skill or talent, it didn't stop me from going on missions with my team and trying my best; but that was just it, my best wasn't good enough.

In the ninja world you need more than just smarts, charisma and athleticism. You need to be the best of the best otherwise you could meet a sticky end. Throughout my Genin years, I can admit that my sticky end had drawn too close too many times. I leant on my teammates and trusted them to take care of me. I see now that this was wrong. I see now that a lot of things are wrong.

I can't tell you the defining moment that changed my thought process, not because there wasn't a moment just because I don't want to remember; I don't need to. I believe it was fate that brought Tsunade sama to me and that it was fate that it occurred to me to become her apprentice. Yet I can tell you now that the long hours spent studying and the physical strain of the arduous and gory training was anything but fate. This was where weak and dependant Sakura died, and like phoenix my new self was born.

As I casually strolled into Tsunade sama's office a slow seep of self appreciation washed over me, I had accomplished so much in these last few years, and I was only twenty. I was the only person (apart from Naruto) that didn't have to knock when entering the Hokages office.

"Tsunade sama, you requested my presence?" I inquired while swinging the door open nonchalantly. Crossing the room I stood in front of the prestigious oak desk and placed a careless hand on my hip.

Tsunade did not look up to acknowledge my presence, she simply continued sifting and shuffling through the mountains of paperwork before her.

Clearing my throat, I tapped my foot in effort to gain her attention but not in such a boisterous manner as Naruto would; my respect for the Hokage was expansive.

Tsunade sighed in a resigned fashion before raising her blonde head to cast her blue eyes upon me.

"Sakura, sometimes I wonder why I still hold the position of Hokage." She stated so matter-of-factly, that I was taken aback.

"I am old, weary and ill equip for this job. I was chosen in a time of distress and desperation, I was not even the first choice."

I opened my mouth to protest to her statement before she rose her hand to silence me. She stood up with effort from her high-backed chair and moved to face the window behind her – grunting from the stiffness of her back.

"Do not misunderstand me Sakura, I am a strong ninja and have a deep set love for Konoha more than you could know." She trailed off wistfully.

She was silent for a few moments, taking the time to analyse the expanses of the village. I understood that she did not require me to speak or interrupt her peace so I stood still and waited.

After moments Tsunade sama seemed to snap out of her reverie and spun rapidly to face me, "Sakura, my talents lay else where in this world, I have the ability to save lives yet I am cooped up in a stuffy office signing peace treaties and declaration forms."

She took a deep breath and exhaled before beginning to pace backwards and forwards in front of me. "Sakura, by teaching you I believe I have done all that I was meant to accomplish in this village. My time as Hokage has come and left, and I feel that the village is ready for a change too."

She ceased her pacing, and slowly approached me. She placed her hands upon my shoulders and squeezed gently before uttering in a hushed manner, "Sakura, I ask of you one last time to help me."

Our eyes met and Tsunade sama was more serious than she had ever appeared before. "Whatever the task Sakura, you must promise me you will do all in your power to complete it. Promise me Sakura."

I was still as my brain whirred. What was Tsunade sama requesting that could make her so serious and commanding?

Before I knew what I was doing, my pink head bobbed up and down in a slow yet determined fashion, my eyes never breaking contact with my mentor.

We held eye contact for a few intense moments afterwards, making a silence treaty and promise between teacher and student. Abruptly Tsunade pulled away her cerulean eyes and marched back to her chair stating a simple, "good".

As she resumed her authority position in her chair she fiddled with a few papers, shuffling them into a perfect pile while clearing her throat.

"As you know, I have considered yourself and Naruto to be like my children. I have watched you grow into fine young ninja and adults, and now it is time for you both to step up."

I furrowed my eyebrows and tilted my head slightly to the right in confusion, what was Tsunade talking about? Step up? Surely they had been doing that already, Sakura was constantly on S-class missions and Naruto was one of the best ANBU team leaders in Konoha.

"When I step down from my position as Hokage, it will be Naruto that will take my place as leader and protector of the fire country."

This came as no surprise to me, Tsunade had been primping Naruto for the last three years to become her successor; although, nobody knew what the last remaining Sanin saw in the rebellious and strange man.

"However, while Naruto is physically and hopefully mentally prepared for his duties, it has come to my attention that he is not emotionally ready."

I lowered my head at this, knowing full well what the elder lady was referring to, yet I didn't think it or say it.

"This is where you come in my dearest Sakura." She said with a soft smile on her face, almost like proud mother and at that moment I knew what ever she asked of me, I would complete it happily to grant her wish.

"This is the utmost important mission that you will ever receive; the future of the fire country rests on the outcome of this task." She added for emphasis.

"Naruto cannot take his place as Hokage if he still harbours a weakness from his childhood, such a weakness could potentially be the downfall of the entire province. " She continued, and I stood still hoping that she was not referring to what I thought she was.

I opened my mouth to say something in protest, yet shut it again knowing that I had made a promise to the wise woman before me.

Sighing loudly and looking up from my ninja sandals, I asked hesitantly.

"Tsunade sama, what is it that you wish for me to complete?"

Looking up from her desk and paper work to stare at me, her mouth set in a thin straight line she said firmly,

"I want you to catch this weakness."

My eyes went wide.

At this moment, I hated the fact that I loved Naruto and Konoha so much. If I was much less of a kind soul I would have left the village by the cover of night to avoid such a task. Alas, Naruto's baka grin and Konoha's accepting atmosphere kept me grounded, and thus obliged to fulfil Tsunade sama's mission.

I knew what or in this case who the weakness was, it didn't take Shikamaru's intellect or Neji's Byakugan to understand that it was him.

For the last eight years I have been trying to forget him, to stay as far as physically and mentally possible away from that person.

When anyone brings him up in conversation, I make a hasty get away. When Naruto gets in his depressed moods and asks if I ever think about him, I change the topic drastically. If I am on a mission and I catch wind of Sasuke being in the area, I high tail it out of that region faster than you can say chakra-enhanced-feet.

And now Lady Tsunade, the main person who know how hard I works to avoid his existence wants me to go hunt him down and capture him. To actually place myself in a situation where I must interact and see that- that- guy!

I sighed; my life is a joke to Kami. The gods sit up there and plot ways to screw things up for me, just for kicks. Cheers guys, you're all powerful yet you can't find one stinking way to get me out of this joke of a mission.

I placed yet another spare pair of underwear into my pack, you can never be too careful. There was this one mission where nearly all my underwear was burnt, ripped – but you don't want to hear about that.

My pack was light despite my over packing of clothes, I had a long way to go as the Konoha Intel had informed me the last place he had been spotted was the lightening country; over five days sprint away. I stocked up my medic bag and sharpened my weapons meticulously. They shone and glimmered in a beautiful way that made me proud of my work. Before long I found myself lugging my bag onto my back and locking my front door to my quaint apartment.

I strolled through the back streets of Konoha, consciously avoiding the central busy part of the town to ensure I met nobody that would ask questions. It would be difficult to explain my mission and it didn't feel right to lie.

Just as I was approaching the front gates of Konoha I heard the incessant patter of feet running up from behind me, I cringed as I recognised the loud boisterous voice that boomed across the space.


I spun slowly around with a forced grin on my face and said casually before he could interrupt, "Naruto, I can't talk I really have to go."

Naruto looked confused as he approached me, "What? Where are you going? Why didn't you tell me you were leaving Konoha?" he sounded hurt that I hadn't informed him of my leaving.

I didn't like to lie, especially to someone as close to me as Naruto, but I had to this time I couldn't break Tsunade sama's trust and jeopardise the mission. So I simply stated,

"I'm going on an easy B- ranked mission as a favour to Tsunade sama, although it will take some time, I will be back in 10 – 12 days." I said fluently, surprised at how easy it had been to lie to my best friend and team mate.

"Oh okay then, well I will see you in a couple of days then. Stay safe and remember that I love you." He said hesitantly at first then confident at the end.

I smiled at him prior to throwing my arms around him and hugging him tightly, "I'll look after myself if you look after everyone here," making a bargain to ensure he felt that I was still thinking about him and Konoha "And don't worry, I'll be back in time for yours and hinata's wedding." I said with a wink.

And with that I pivoted on my foot and strode out the front gates.

This mission, I thought will be completed for you Naruto so that you can have your dream, I will not fail you!

I hope you enjoyed this,

if you have any input onto where this story should go or what should happen next, i would be delighted to know!
A review, no matter how long will really motivate me to continue to write this story.

Cheers for now.