-Set at the beginning of Shippuden, the Elders send Sakura off as a hunter-nin, wishing for her death as a way to weaken Tsunade's political powers. Sakura agrees to prove them wrong, but what she didn't know was that Orochimaru's involved! Oh, god… Just what did she get herself into?
OMG, this is my twelfth fanfiction! Yay me! But I should really try to finish the other ones, though… The only one that I actually finished was Passion. Oh dear, what should I do? I have so many ideas in my head… Oh well, who cares? At the very least, I won't be bored. Plus, this is my first fanfic that crosses over with a fanfic with NaruHina as the main couple! Yay! I've always thought that couple was cute… And I've always wanted to write a fanfic in my version of how Shippuden should go. So, yeah, anyway, this fanfic is based more on the manga than the anime though you'll see some filler anime episodes in here, and this fanfic is named after the Japanese ninjutsu romance film of the same name, just for those who were wondering. It coincides with my Shinobi, Mirrorcle World fanfic, but this one is more about SasuSaku than NaruHina, just for you SasuSaku fans! Please enjoy!
You left in the morning. Tonight, my heart is in a thousand pieces.
Why are you far away?
Thinking of you, I go to the hillside and wander.
The hillside—why is it so saddening?
Yellow of dandelions, the shepherd's purse blooming white…
There's no one to look at them.
A pheasant calls and calls without stopping.
I had a friend. We lived with a river between us.
~Her Mission, The Elders' Proposal~
"You're getting better at this," Tsunade said, glancing over at the training field. It looked as if multiple earthquakes had strike the place! "Naruto will certainly be in for a surprise when he returns."
Sakura smiled. If she hadn't made any progress then all of her training would have been for naught. To hear that she did improve, she was glad. Perhaps now she can be of more assistance to him in their upcoming missions…
"Now, let's review… I trust that you will not disappoint me."
They would always review during every single training session, every single sparring session… They did it often, but Sakura did not mind. She knew Tsunade was simply repeating herself ,so it would be always fresh in her mind.
"Very well, then… As the medical ninja of your team—"
"I'm the cornerstone of the team—the backbone, the key."
"If you go down—"
"My whole team goes down."
"If you take a hit—"
"Then there is no one to heal my teammates. For that reason, I must train myself to never get hit. I can't afford it, and neither can my teammates."
"So . . ." Tsunade said, voice raised and arms crossed. She never took her eyes off of her apprentice, wanting to make sure the Haruno did not hesitate with her answers. "If you must never be hit then where does that leave you?"
"I must dodge!"
Tsunade smiled. Her apprentice had learned fast, faster than even Shizune had. She was proud of her student. Sakura had excellent chakra control, fantastic mobility, and had picked up the principles of both the medical jutsu she had been instructed on and the near inhuman chakra-enhanced strength that was Tsunade's trademark. As she launched herself at the girl again, she wondered how she'd fair this time.
"What is it, Shizune?" Tsunade asked, signaling for Sakura that their sparring session was now over.
"The Elders want to speak with you," the ebony-haired woman replied.
"What? Again?" The Hokage scratched her head. She had had enough headaches from those old geezers. "Well, I'm sure it can wait. I'm training with Sakura right now."
"I've already told them so," Shizune explained. "But they won't listen to me!"
Tsunade let out an exasperated sigh and groaned. "Fine!" she said. "Wonder what it could be this time… Sakura!"
"I expect that jutsu to be perfected in two days tops!"
But as Tsunade left, Sakura couldn't help but wonder what was going on. The Elders had been calling Tsunade to their office more and more often nowadays. Was there some kind of diplomatic problem with another one of the ninja villages?
"Come on, Sakura."
"Huh?" She glanced at her superior.
"You must be as worried as I am about her, aren't you?" Shizune asked her.
Sakura nodded her head. "But why do the Elders want to see Tsunade-shisou?"
"I don't know," the ebony-haired woman sighed. "But lately the Elders got the idea in their heads that Tsunade might have been growing politically stronger…"
Sakura didn't say anything on that matter. So that was what was going on… The Elders had always disliked her mentor, but Sakura had thought that they were only calling her to just plainly annoy her. She had never expected something like this! She knew fully well that, if the Elders thought Tsunade was getting stronger politically, they probably thought she could override any of their decisions, and that pose a threat to their power.
"We're Tsunade's pupils," Shizune explained. "And if she's in trouble then we'll soon be involved too. Besides, I want to make sure she's not in any danger."
"What is it that you two want?" Tsunade asked, trying to be polite. She hated every minute she had to spend talking to these two. "I hope it's not about what my position ensures and what not. We've already gone over it about—let's see—twenty times over these last two weeks."
"Calm down, Tsunade." Homura, the male Elder, said. "We did not call you here to talk to you about that. There are more pressing matters."
Tsunade raised an eyebrow. Ha! More pressing matters my ass! "What is it?"
"With the number of criminals and rate of crime increasing, Kiri's hunter-nin have had their hands full for a quite some time." Koharu, the female Elder, said. "Our relationship with Kiri has been well-off in the past. However, as Uchiha Sasuke is in the Bingo Book, we believe Kiri and even the other ninja villages might try and finish him off by themselves."
Tsunade was now thoroughly confused. Since when did those two give a damn about the Uchiha?
"We fear that the sharingan might fall into the wrong hands," Homura continued. "As such, we believe we should train our own shinobi to be hunter-nin."
"But we are already short on shinobi because of the war with Oto," Tsunade said. "We do not have the capacity to create such a team."
"We know," Koharu retorted calmly, folding her hands on her lap.
"Your apprentice has excelled in her training far quicker than we had expected," Homura explained.
Tsunade narrowed her eyes. Just where are they going with this?
"Her medical knowledge has greatly increased within these past few months…" Koharu added. "Her profile fits that of which a hunter-nin is, and—"
Tsunade slammed her fist onto the table. "Unacceptable!" she yelled. "You expect me to send my apprentice off on that mission? She's not even sixteen yet! How could you suggest something like that?"
"Tsunade, as Hokage, you cannot be biased," Koharu said. "If the sharingan falls into the wrong hands—"
"Oh, don't give me any of your excuses!" Tsunade snapped. "You don't give a damn about that! You're just trying to protect yourselves by weakening my position!"
"Tsunade!" Homura's voice rose. "How dare you make such an accusation! We are only doing what's best for the village! If the sharingan indeed falls into the wrong hands then Konoha will be in danger. It's already in Orochimaru's. We do not need it to get any worse. We need to send our own shinobi out into the field. However, the only one capable of such of job is your apprentice, Haruno Sakura. Not only is she capable as a shinobi, but she possesses knowledge of the human anatomy."
"But even if I send her off on such a mission, she would not be able to finish off the Uchiha." Tsunade argued. "What use would—"
"We do not expect her to actually go against him in battle." Koharu stated.
". . . What?"
"We just want to even the playing field a bit."
"What?" That came out more as a snarl.
"We have already sent this proposal to Kiri." Homura clarified. "They have agreed to leave Uchiha Sasuke to us. They won't touch him and will relay any information of him to us so long as we have at least one hunter-nin in the field."
"And you expect to send my apprentice off on this . . . this suicide mission? By herself?" Tsunade was furious. "Find someone else!"
"We've already told you, Tsunade," Koharu said. "Haruno Sakura is the best candidate for such a position. There is no one else."
"We are prepared to strip you of your status if our terms are not met with, Tsunade." Homura added.
"Fine! Go ahead and indict me!" Tsunade yelled. "There's no way I'd go along with—"
"The choice is not yours, Tsunade."
"You two!" Koharu had turned her attention towards the closed door. "Get in here!"
Slowly, the door to the office opened, and in came Shizune and Sakura. The ebony-haired woman seemed to have turned her body slightly to the side as if to defend her junior. Tsunade's eyes widened once she saw them.
"I was the one who decided to listen in on the conversation," Shizune explained to the Elders. "Punish me but not Sakura."
"We'll leave that up to Tsunade," Homura said, his eyes glaring at the two for disturbing their privacy. "But right now, there are more important matters to discuss. I trust you heard everything by the door, am I correct, Haruno-san?"
Sakura nodded her head once.
"Then we will not repeat ourselves," Koharu said. "Haruno-san, your mission is to empty the Bingo Book. Will you or will you not take this mission?"
". . . If it's for the sake of the village," Sakura answered with eyes filled with determination, "how could I refuse?"
Shizune glanced back her, shocked.
"NO!" Tsunade roared, jumping up from her seat. "I WON'T ALLOW IT!"
"The girl has already given us her opinion," Homura said. "There is no going back now."
"Haruno-san, we will give you until your teammate, Uzumaki Naruto, returns from his training with Jiraiya to prepare yourself." Koharu explained. "After that, I do not wish to see you in the village. This meeting is adjourned."
"I WON'T ALLOW THIS!" Tsunade screamed, slamming her hands onto her desk. "SAKURA, YOU'RE NOT GOING ON THAT MISSION!"
"But, shisou!" Sakura argued. "If I don't then they'll—"
"I DON'T CARE WHAT THEY DO TO ME!" Tsunade yelled. "Sakura, you're only fourteen! For them to send you on this mission, they're just desperate to weaken my political power! Now that they know they're able to send you away, who's next? Shizune? Ino? They'll probably try and keep Naruto stuck in this village once he returns!"
"Sakura, you're not going on this mission! Even if it is for my sake! That's final!"
"Shisou, I'm not just doing it for your sake!" Sakura said. "If I don't go, they might turn their attention to Shizune! You need her with you! She's the only one who can get you through your paperwork and political duties! If she's gone then the Elders have won! I won't watch that happen nor will I allow it!"
"Sakura, please…" Shizune pleaded, putting her hand on the kunoichi's shoulder. "You need to think this through. The Elders aren't sending you off on this mission because they think you're capable of accomplishing it. They want you dead. This is a suicide mission! "
"Then help me train so that I can prove those old geezers wrong!" Sakura said.
"We can't train you to kill someone," Tsunade said. "That's something you need to accomplish on your own. I won't have you taint your hands with those criminals'—those demons'—blood!"
"Then train me to at least be strong enough to defeat them!" Sakura yelled. "I've already told you before: I want to be strong like Naruto so that I can help bring Sasuke back! This . . . this could be seen as a blessing!"
"Tsunade-shisou, please… How else will I know if I became stronger? I'm always protected because I'm weak. Please, reconsider…"
"Heh…" Tsunade threw her head back. "If you say it like that then I can see things in your point of view…" She let out a wry chuckle. "But being a hunter-nin's not easy… Sakura, you won't be able to return home for long periods of time—for months or even years… Do you know that?"
". . . Hai…" Sakura's eyes shifted in another direction so that her mentor could not see the sorrow in her eyes.
"Knowing that, you'd still take this mission?" Tsunade asked, an eyebrow raised. She sat back down in her seat.
"If it's for the sake of those close to me then, of course, I'd do anything!"
Tsunade let out a sigh then. "Shizune…" she said. "Go get Kakashi."
"There's no way I'll send my apprentice into danger without first getting training from one of the best ANBU in the village," the Hokage said, much to Sakura's delight.
"Arigato, shisou!" the cherry blossom said, hugging her mentor.
"But don't think that means you can shirk your medical training with me, young lady! I still expect you here from seven in the morning to at least two in the afternoon!"
Smoke rises, the west wind blowing so hard in the fields of bamboo grass and sedge, it doesn't linger.
I had a friend. We lived with a river between us.
Not even the birds call out hororo.
You left in the morning. Tonight my heart is in a thousand pieces.
Why are you so far away?
By the image of Amida, I light no candle and offer no flowers.
I sit here alone, my heart heavy, filled with gratitude.
Arigato = thank you
Hai = yes
Hororo = [birds' chirping]
Kiri = Mist (as in Kirigakure = The Hidden Village in the Mist)
Shisou = master (as in teacher)
 = Amitābha, an important Buddha in East Asian Buddhism
Yay! I'm finished with this chapter! Tell me what you think of it so far in your reviews, kay? Oh, and the poem in here is by Buson, a famous Haiku author.