Running across the burnt ground, the glow behind her began to dim as the transfer between Minato's half of the Kyuubi into Naruto became complete. In her haste, Sai had painted a creature with wings so she could fly to the heat of the battle. Lunging onto the bird's back just as it was about to lift off the ground, she gripped the strange texture on its back for support. In just moments they were high in the sky, but she urged the creation to hurry, her breath coming out in terrified gasps.
"Sasuke has been fatally wounded," Sai interrupted Sakura's angry remark towards her teammate for breaking her concentration, and the bossy medic's fire was immediately extinguished. The glow on her hand seemed to burn her skin as she healed the wounds on her blonde best friend, who seemed to just be fading away right before her. Naruto's reaction of horror only froze the girl in her spot some more.
"You have to go save him Sakura-chan! Forget about me, I'm not going to-"
"Shut up! Just, shut up!" she cried, shutting her glossy eyes as she pushed forward, resting her hands on his chest as she pumped her chakra into his weakening heart.
They reached the scene of the crime almost immediately, and she wondered how long Sasuke had been subdued in the air with his own sword. He gripped it so hard that it pierced the side of his palm, and Madara seemed to be enjoying prolonging the suffering of the younger Uchiha. Sakura watched the lips move on Madara in what would be a sickening lecture. What was he telling him?
Sakura's eyes seemed glazed over as she watched the man she loved struggle in pain. The sword seems to have been pierced directly through his heart. Grinding her teeth, she dug into the depths of her talented mind to think of some sort of healing jutsu she could use that would be strong enough to actually heal his heart. A part of her prayed that this wasn't happening, that it was a genjutsu, or Sasuke had used a clone and it would poof away any second... but no. He was dying, and she knew it.
She also knew that Sasuke would be dead the second the sword was removed from his heart.
"You love him," Naruto put his hand on Sakura's shoulder, and they both exchanged a look of grief. "You have to save him, at least save one of us."
Shoulders trembling, her green eyes flashed in pain of the decision she was now forced to make. Shaking her head, she shut her eyes tight, trying to block out the scream of some dying ninja in the background. These were the terrors of being a medic, and the burden weighed heavy on her heart.
"Let me take care of my son," a voice suddenly spoke beside them, and her eyes widened in surprise at the sight of the fourth Hokage.
"What do you mean?" was the only thing she could coherently muster, her entire body was wrecked with emotion and the fear of losing both Naruto and Sasuke was just too much, absolutely too much for her...
"Naruto will not die. It's up to you to save the man you both care for so much."
Sakura really couldn't believe she was doing this, how could a girl like her get away with this? This is absolutely wild! her inner screamed in her mind, and fear prickled in every blood cell in her veins. But that is what you are good at, lady! Don't you dare die! Sakura smiled at her odd personal support, and watched as Sasuke suddenly broke the sword at its hilt.
Adrenaline screamed in her veins as the sudden descent caused her stomach to flip. Shifting to the edge of the bird drawing, she extended an arm the moment they reached the ground, and as sly as ever grabbed the back of Sasuke's shirt. At the same moment she came in contact with him, her shadow clone came in contact with the ground in front of their enemy, and she punched the ground with so much force it sent Madara leaping several yards back just to avoid being buried by the uplifted terrain. Heaving Sasuke onto the bird, Sakura was careful not to place him on his back.
Scanning him over with terrified green eyes, she could feel a wave of nostalgia take over her senses as she wrapped an arm under his neck and gentle rest him against the bird. Sakura bit down on her lip to ease the stress at watching his face twist in pain at the movement. This was just like when they were genin sent on missions, and when he got hurt, she was always... holding him like this.
Sasuke opened his eyes and for the first time, Sakura got a good view of his Mangekyou Sharingan, and the intricate designs it held. A weapon and defense so powerful, yet it wasn't enough to stop his own blade from piercing his heart. Sakura let out a gasp, unaware of the breath she had been holding, and the dying man simply watched her as he bared the pain in his chest.
"Don't move," she ushered when he let out a groan and turned to the side.
Sasuke froze when she moved his head to her lap. Oh, the familiarity of all this, yet he could die any second. Shutting her eyes and concentrating, the seal on her forehead expanded and spread like ribbons across her forehead and towards her neck. Her fingers squeezed together tightly in the hand sign she performed, hurrying the jutsu and trying to be as quick as possible. It glowed a crimson pink instead of the vibrant purple of her mentor's.
It had been many months since Sasuke had to truly consider fearing for his life. What a foolish mistake he had made, heading towards Madara only trusting himself to survive the conflict between them. Had he really trusted his ancestor that much? Had he truly, honestly believed Hashirama's jutsu would save him from whatever Madara had planned? Words that were supposed to have been spoken between them were now simply a ghost of whispers in the back of his mind.
Instead he was thrown into his past memories as a genin as he was forced, again, to put his life in the hands of the girl- no, the woman that had always been there. Sasuke could feel her body shake against his as he lay against her. She was there when his existence was nothing but loneliness, and she kept him close, filling him to the brim with love and compassion. The bond had been... too much in the past, but he was honestly grateful, and had thanked her before leaving.
And now here he was, at the peak of his death, realizing every time he had wronged her when all she had been trying to do was make him right.
"This is going to hurt." Sakura opened her eyes and looked down at his chest. Ripping his shirt away from the sword and pushing the cloth away so she had a clear view, she grasped the sword that stuck out from his chest. His eyes widened, flashing once with fear.
Sakura had been prepared for the scream she knew would come. Sasuke reached out for the closest thing to grab, squeezing her forearm to ease the traumatizing pain in his chest. Wincing at his hold, she pulled the sword out halfway, leaving half his heart pierced as she furiously worked at loading chakra into his chest and mending every cell, every blood vessel and tissue that was broken. Blood poured over her lap and smeared across their clothes.
Hot tears stained her vision at watching him suffer, but it only made her work harder. Nothing was worse than hearing and seeing the one you loved most struggle in agony.
"I'm so sorry," she whispered, using one hand to stabilize the work she had done on his heart. Sasuke's breaths came out quickly and it didn't take a genius to realize he was hyperventilating. Squeezing his eyes shut, he turned his head away and ground his teeth together, groaning angrily at every exhale.
After several long and torturous moments went by, she succeeded at healing the bottom part of his heart, and exhaled slowly once she realized it wasn't going to burst at the strain. She couldn't help but lift a worn hand and rest it on the side of his head. Her fingers were instantly buried in the black of his hair, and she lovingly stroked a thumb over the side of his cheek. The man was always so oppressive, but now he was at the edge of his limits and the pain over took everything about him. Taking slower, easier breaths, the Uchiha watched her from the corner of his eyes without a word.
Removing the hand she had placed on his head, he could only stare as she placed her hands on the sword again, looking back at him as his breathing immediately began to quicken again. Groaning under his breath and squeezing her arm, she grabbed and tugged the remaining piece out, letting it fall onto the back of the bird.
If it wasn't for the seal on her head, or her amazing emotional restraint in these situations, or his incredibly high pain tolerance, Sasuke would surely be dead by now. Another horrifying cry came from the man below and the medic worked until the beads of sweat on her forehead fell down and off her chin. His heart was working just as hard as she was, and she knew that wasn't good. The blood pumped out of his wound and onto her hands, and she gently place her hands over his heart only to watch the blood continue to seep out from inbetween her fingers. Only one of them needed to work hard right now, and she needed him to relax or he wasn't going to make it.
"Sasuke you need to work with me or you're going to stress your heart out to the brink of shock." she spoke under her breath, panic beginning to well in her stomach. Please, Sasuke. I'm almost there...
"My body is already in shock," he corrected through gritted teeth, letting out another pain filled groan as he concentrated on anything other than his heart being mended together.
"Take deep breaths, bite this," she grabbed a spare cloth from her pouch and stuck it in front of his mouth. He took it between his teeth and ground down hard, his breaths coming out slower as the grip on her forearm seemed to tighten. "I'm not going to let you down."
It was literally an act from the gods to have him survive this, and it only proved how amazing her chakra control was to actually heal a beating heart. Sasuke knew this, too, and he watched her through hazy eyes as she worked furiously on mending the cells in his body; Even the broken rib Madara managed to pierce.
Then again, he knew she couldn't have done it without the Strength of a Hundred seal, and he watched as it shimmered and glowed down her forehead and onto her forearms. When had she conquered this ability that Tsunade only seemed to master? Why was he so surprised by merely the beginning of the potential she seemed to possess? Let alone the fact that he was mesmerized by... the power she radiated right in front of him, no walls and no hidden expressions. It was all for him!
"Why do you try so hard?" he growled angrily beneath his breath as she finished healing the muscles around the front and back of his heart. She was practically done already. Sakura glanced over at him, the tears still there but refusing to fall as she breathed heavy sighs of relief.
"You are one of my special people, I would do..." she mumbled and the rest of her sentence was carried away in her mind. This isn't a time to be annoying, especially in front of him, her inner hissed in her head, and she simply placed a hand on his head again as she continued to heal him.
Sasuke brows met against his forehead as he watched her mental battle inside her head. But the strange comfort her hand brought just by touching him seemed to calm his nerves, and eased the ache in his heart he hadn't known was there. Glancing down at his chest, he noticed she was no longer healing him.
"I've always had faith in you. I hope you're doing good with you... goals." she murmured under her breath, smiling sickeningly sweet down at him as she did. It caused the air to hitch in his lungs, and to loosen the grip he forgot he still had around her forearm. Apparently she had forgotten too, because the second he did her gaze followed his hand.
"Hn." was his only response besides the slow nod of his head. As bottled up as ever, it seemed.
Letting his arm rest beside him, she used her free arm to support her body as she leaned back, taking a deep breath and letting herself finally relax. They both rested there in perfect silence, and Sakura felt an odd warming peace rise up from within her. Might have something to do with Sasuke still being in her lap, and of course, she wouldn't heal that bruise on her arm just because the reminder of him made her smile.
All this left Sasuke stewing with his thoughts, and as he did he couldn't help but continue to steal glances at her with the help of his Sharingan. The expression on her face made his own expression soften, and his glare dissolved into a look of curiosity. Although he was frustrated with the welling of emotions and the odd amount of respect he still held for his old teammates, he was left realizing what exactly Sakura meant to him. And the effect she still had on him.
They could only sit for a second, they had a war to fight still.