Hello dear readers, please don't freak out when you see that I deleted all 23 chapters of this story. I'm only rewriting it and making it (hopefully) better. It'd mean a lot to me if you'd go through this journey with me again. The basis of the story will be the same, but it's undergoing significant changes that I sincerely hope you like.
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto. If I did, KakaSaku would be a thing, and Itachi would definitely be alive.
Cover by the amazing artist and awesome friend Ameba-sama.
Chapter 1: Things We Didn't Know
She floated in a dream-like state, unaware of her surroundings, aware of nothing but her steady heartbeat.
Sakura felt like she had been locked inside her body. She could feel the blood rushing through her arteries into her lungs and the electrical impulses her brain was sending her organs, and mostly, she was vividly aware of her cells multiplying and dying rapidly. However, she was not scared; she knew she did the right thing.
She recalled how she ended up here, in this endless void.
"Kakashi," the cloaked figure croaked from the darkness within the nearby trees, voice urgent and thick with emotion. She held onto the rough tree bark, frozen in place, emerald eyes wide with gut-wrenching horror. She did not dare cross the tree-line, did not dare approach the still figure sprawled on the grass just ahead of her. Because if she did —if she, Sakura Haruno, with icy blood in her veins and the shaking limbs of her legs even began to manage to move— one of her worst nightmares might just spring to life.
The forest concealing her was eerily quiet, as silent as the void, but the stillness was deafening in her ringing ears and the thick humid air surrounding her threatens to suffocate her aching lungs. No reply echoes from the silver-haired figure, who didn't even twitch at the sound of her voice.
Sakura was terrified because even if the stillness didn't give him away, she couldn't trick herself into denying that there was no other chakra signature in the area but hers because the figure on the ground was mute. The figure on the ground wasn't emitting its natural cackling chakra.
Clenching her teeth to stop the tears from overflowing, she balled her hands into tight fists and took shaky steps towards the limp man who she came to view as a friend over the course of the last few months.
He was pale —so washed out that the crimson blood on his skin seemed all the brighter. It seeped from his neck, from his dirtied fingers, soaking his clothes and drenching his mask. He smelled like rust and mud and humidity, and it made Sakura sick to her stomach.
"Sensei," she whispered, feeling so incredibly vulnerable that she resorted to calling him by his old title. Sakura choked on her bubbling emotions and sank to her knees beside him, her trembling fingers flitting over his skin, searching for a pulse, searching for any sign of life, any sign that she could still save him.
The woman gasped when she felt the faintest of thumping against her index, and suddenly there's feeling in her fingers and thudding in her chest, as if the discovery of his living breathed life back into her.
A green glow engulfed her hand, and she pressed down on the gash in his neck, fighting to keep the little life left in him from escaping, but he was bleeding out rapidly, faster than her medical chakra was at knitting him back together, and she's become desperate —helpless— his life was literally seeping out from between her fingers.
"Please don't do this to me," she pleaded with his motionless form, her tears distorting her vision until they were rivers down her cheek, raining down on his face and smudging the blood on his closed eyelids.
Her hands were frantic, trembling and shaking under the strain of her medical jutsu as she pushed more and more into her palm until she hit her capacity's limit.
Sakura was running out of options. Clearly, there was no saving him this time. He depleted his chakra supply so thoroughly that the coils surrounding his organs were no longer functioning. And because they were no longer working to alleviate some pressure off his organs, his heart needed to work thrice as hard to keep him alive. But the blood that kept his very heart beating was now soaking her elbows and dyeing the crisp, green grass crimson.
Her whole body began to shake at the realisation. Kakashi was going to die, and she was stuck watching it happen. Her mind scrambled for options, tripping over solutions and struggling to fight her growing dread. She needed another medic —a bunch of them— but that wasn't an option, not really. They were miles away from Konoha, Kakashi would die before she even arrived there.
How could she let this happen? If she only made it in time, he wouldn't be in this position. They're a team, dammit, they're supposed to stick together. How did she ever think that splitting up was ideal?
All her training, all her accomplishments, every last bit of her medical knowledge meant nothing now; they were useless and— Sakura's thoughts came to an abrupt halt. No, that wasn't true. There might be one thing that she could do.
Sakura often prided herself on being able to think on the spot, like that one time she had to save Kankuro after the Akatsuki abducted Gaara. She was able to manually manipulate and extract the poison in his bloodstream and then conduct a complicated antidote in the span of one afternoon. Even she had to admit that was brilliant.
However this… It wasn't something she'd done before, neither was it particularly safe —scratch that, it was utterly insane. But there was nothing else to do. She reached for her pouch and retrieved a scalpel. Before she could weigh the pros and cons of her actions, she slit her wrist open and then did the same with Kakashi's. Her medical chakra immediately sprang back to life, scurrying to heal her without a second thought, but Sakura willed it to stop. Instead, she directed it to knit her veins with Kakashi's.
It was risky and highly dangerous, and she was sure no one in the history of shinobi ever attempted this —She doubted anyone short of Orochimaru would even ponder it. It didn't stop her. It was her last and only option.
It was lucky that she and Kakashi share the blood type 'O' otherwise this wouldn't work.
What she did next was something she'd done only once before. She tore off Kakashi's shirt before slicing open the side of his chest. Sakura grabs hold of his heart with her glowing fist and begins pumping it rhythmically to match her own. She has to be quick, knowing she'll start to grow dizzy soon and so she focuses completely on the feel of her blood running through their veins and her medical chakra knitting him back together from the inside.
She's unsure of how long she sat there beneath the bright moon, crouched over his body, her brain running a hundred scenarios of losing him, of what her life would be like without him, of how much she wished she spent more time with him. She doesn't kid herself into thinking Team 7 would even be remotely the same without him. It'd be like cutting off the oxygen supply of a COPD patient. Kakashi was what brought them together in the first place.
Just when she was sure his heart was working correctly on its own did she begin to tend to his external injuries with her non-occupied hand. But then Sakura did something foolish —something absolutely unforgivable; she passed out.
Sakura dreamt vividly, and despite not being present in the illusion, she did not recognise it for what it was: an illusion.
Down the street walked a happy family; a handsome silver-haired man and a gorgeous brunette held the hands of a little silver-haired boy that resembled his father more than any kid had the right. They're laughing at the way their son latched onto their arms and attempted to swing back and forth by pushing his legs completely off the ground, jostling his parent's motion and bringing them closer together as they both sought to support his weight.
The boy was tiny —no older than three-years-old— and he's beaming up at them like the sun itself, and she feels it all; his happiness, the father's adoration, the mother's undying affection. It clings to her like a life-support line, refusing to let go, bombarding her with a thousand emotions until she was sure she might explode from the rush of it all.
But it ends abruptly with a sting of pain.
Sakura's eyes shot open, and she bolted upright to realise Kakashi had stirred away from her and tore the connection between them, splattering blood across their pale skins— Sakura gasped aloud, as she came to the second realisation that she must've passed out sometime during her crazy attempt of keeping her teammate alive.
The sound woke Kakashi up who then looked up at her with bleary charcoal eyes.
"Kakashi!" She breathed joyously, her heart skipping a beat at the sight of his eyes opened. He looked like hell, but at least he was alive. That was all she could ask for and more.
He looked so utterly confused, so hurt and in pain, it makes her heart ache. "Shh, don't move, that'll sting a bit."
She severs the connection between them, and he hisses in pain, his eyes widening in surprise. The medic quickly closes the wound, knowing that there'll forever be a scar there now, for the both of them.
Feeling like she's having the worst hangover of her life, Sakura wobbled onto her heels and helped him up.
"What'd you do?" Kakashi hoarsely whispered as Sakura helped him up onto his feet.
"I saved your life," Sakura replied as she hoisted him up on her back. He slumped forward with barely any resistance, completely drained of energy. "Go to sleep."
"Just trust me."
He didn't reply for several long seconds, but then she felt his face pressing into her shoulder, and that was all the indication she needed; yes, he trusted her.
The next time Kakashi awoke he was in a hospital bed with Tsunade checking over his vitals.
He blinked owlishly at the blond woman and needed a few minutes to understand what she was doing in his room; that is that he understood that this wasn't his room but a hospital room.
"You're finally awake," the Hokage stated, without bothering to turn around and look at him. "It's a miracle."
Kakashi swallowed a few times against his dry throat before he rediscovered his ability to speak. "E-excuse me?"
"You're perfectly healthy. Sakura performed a miracle." Tsunade went on, seemingly oblivious to his confusions and worries. "I can't even be mad at her. What she did was incredibly stupid, not to mention unhygienic, but she saved you."
Kakashi's memories were gradually returning to him. He had been fighting someone —their target— the masked man with the incredible strength they had been chasing for months on end. And he was so strong Kakashi barely stood a chance. It deeply unsettled him.
Was the loss of his Sharingan making him weak? How could the enemy be so out of his league if else? Because the man he fought felt like Sakura and Tsunade rolled into one —which should be virtually impossible.
Wait— what was the other thing Tsunade said? "Sakura? What did Sakura do?"
Tsunade pursed her lips like she tasted something unpleasant and Kakashi patiently waited for her to talk. "You were losing blood at a faster rate than she could heal you."
Kakashi blinked, slightly lost. "She gave me blood? How?"
He was sure she healed him in the forest, she had no equipment whatsoever… Wait— the memory of the pain in his wrist rushed into the forefront of his brain, and he quickly located the scar on his skin. He shakily asked, despite having the faintest craziest idea of exactly what Sakura did. "H-how did she do it?"
The blonde woman grit her teeth, "She… god, I can't believe I'm saying this, but she stitched your veins together and made it so that her blood ran through you, too. I sincerely hope you're disease free Hatake, or else that'll cost the both of you."
The silver-haired man barely heard her. He was too focused on the fact that Sakura did the impossible. Was she that desperate? How close was he to dying?
Tsunade seemingly sensed his emotional turmoil and gently patted his shoulder. "Get some rest; I forced her to go home and change. She'll be back soon. She hasn't left your side in three days."
Kakashi blinked his surprise away and sighed heavily. "I've been out for three days."
"Five days, actually. You've been out for five days," Tsunade informed him.
His eyes widened, and before he could begin to ask another question, Tsunade excused herself and left. Why was she even tending to him? She's the Hokage; surely any doctor could watch over a sleeping man —right? Kakashi pondered these thoughts carefully, afraid of thinking of his pink-haired former student and how her actions did not help his conflicted feelings. For months now he's been having a strong, misplaced yearning…
The room was dark and cold —so bone-chillingly freezing it made her shiver, even if she couldn't exactly feel her body or her presence. It didn't matter; she was too horrified by the sight in front of her to even comprehend where she stood at the moment.
From the wooden ceiling hung a thick rope, and to the rope hung the limp body of a silver haired man. Sakura's trained eyes took in all the signs; pallor mortis, rigour mortis, algor mortis —all signs of a body that had been dead for at least two days.
Her horror-stricken eyes trailed to the man's feet where a masked silver-haired boy that could be no older than six stood; motionless and as rigid as a rock except for the slight trembling of his tiny curled fists.
He moved mechanically, like a robot, as he grabbed a kitchen knife from the dining table and attempted to cut the rope to bring the body down. He sliced at his hand three times before he managed to, but he didn't even seem to realise there was blood trickling down his now badly shaking arms and dripping onto the ground.
The boy dropped the body onto the hard parquet floor and hopped off the table to join its side. He landed clumsily on his feet, and fell on his knees, his ankle twisting at an awkward angle as he reached forward to mat the dead man's hair back and revealed his unblinking lifeless black eyes.
Sakura watched the boy staring down at his father's dull eyes for what felt like forever, unable to move or to feel. Finally, the masked boy reached forward and closed his father's eyes with shaking fingers.
The medic could feel the turmoil of emotions roiling inside Kakashi —the name comes to her unthinkingly, her mind recognising the younger version of her former sensei. It showed in the slight tremble along his shoulders, even if his face remained as blank as the face of the man she came to know as a teenager.
Six-year-old Kakashi rose to his feet and stared at Sakumo's body for hours and hours on end, blood dripping down his hand and dyeing the hardwood red. The pouring rain rattling the ceiling was loud enough to drown out his harsh breathing and loud heartbeat effectively.
He never smiled again.
Sakura jolted awake in her bed, tears clouding her vision. She blinked them away, utterly dumbfounded. The sound of her heartbeat was loud in her ears, and she felt the muscle rapidly slamming into her ribcage as if she ran for days and had only stopped now.
Searching with bleary eyes, she located her bedside alarm clock. It read three-thirty p.m.
"Shit!" She swore vehemently and scrambled out of her sweat soaked bed sheets. When she agreed to go back home and shower, Tsunade made her promise to rest a little, so Sakura decided to take an hour long nap, but her alarm clock clearly told her she'd been asleep for at least ten. Apparently, she was much more tired than she realised she was.
Deciding to ponder her dream later, she hurriedly dressed up in her everyday attire and raced to the hospital to where Kakashi should be.
When she arrived at room four-hundred-twenty-eight and only found a made-up bed and a perfectly clean room, but no Kakashi, she began to panic. Her mind bombarded her with likely scenarios, the cynical voice in her head whispered that he could be dead —Sakura knew it was unlikely, but it didn't stop the horror engulfing her chest with a steel grip from nearly getting the best of her.
She rushed to the closest nurse, who stared at her with wide blue eyes, undoubtedly wondering what asylum lost its patient. Sakura knew she looked like death-warmed-over as she demanded to know where Kakashi Hatake is and why he wasn't in his room getting treated.
"Hatake-san has been discharged," the nurse —Ame, her name tag read— replied, slightly alarmed when Sakura's face twisted into a look of cold fury.
"By who?" The legendary medic spat, suddenly furious. How dare they discharge a man who nearly died just a few days after he'd been admitted to the hospital?
"T-Tsunade-sama," Ame yelped, taking a shaky half-step back. Sakura realised she'd been unconsciously emitting killing intent and that three nurses walking down the hallway froze to stare at her with wide, alarmed eyes.
Sakura clamped down on her frenzied emotions and forced herself to calm down. "He went home?"
"I-I think…" Ame whispered and only relaxed when Sakura gave her a tight-lipped smile and thanked her. The medic rushed to the hospital's kitchen, deciding she could do with some coffee before she faced her teammate.
It upset her that Tsunade decided to dismiss her patient without consulting her. Sakura had all but begged the woman to be Kakashi's doctor in her absence —she trusted the blonde to give him the attention he needed, and now she returned to find out he wasn't getting any attention at all.
Sakura nearly sent her kunai through Kakashi's injured stomach were it not for his amazingly fast reflexes. He nimbly sidestepped her attack, twisting her wrist away from his body so that it pointed to the wall instead.
The medic's eyes widened, and she gasped in horror, immediately dropping her kunai when she realised what she was about to do. "I'm so sorry! Idiot, don't sneak up on me like that!"
Kakashi's eyebrows shot up his forehead, nearly disappearing behind his headband. He let go of her injured wrist, despite the fact that his eyes remained focused on the angry red scar running across it, and put some space between them. "You're awfully jumpy today aren't you?"
Sakura sighed, burying her face in her hands. Seeing Kakashi sent fresh images of her dream to the forefront of her mind and reminded her of his near death encounter from a few days ago and worst of all plagued her with a tonne of near-crippling emotions. She shuddered and quickly redirected her thoughts to the important matter at hand. "What are you doing out of bed?"
"I was discharged." He shrugged, his eyes carefully roaming her face but she wasn't sure what he was searching for there. His eyes creased then. "But if you'd went along with your attack I guess I'd be sent back here."
"I'm sorry," she apologised again, awkwardly fiddling with the hem of her shirt. "Did you need anything?"
He raised the box of dango he was carrying to level it with her eye-line. "I have enough for two, thought I should share them with you —as a thank you for saving me."
Sakura mentally kicked herself for acting like an asshole. He was offering her some of his sweets, and she nearly punched a hole in his stomach.
"That's very nice of you thanks, let me just grab my coat," Sakura said, putting on a smile that she hoped didn't look forced. She wanted to have dango with Kakashi, but her horrifying dream was still jumping around in her mind. Not to mention the images of his limp body were still freshly imprinted in her memory, and all she wanted to do was tie him to a hospital bed and demand he stay put.
After grabbing her coat, Sakura exited the hospital with Kakashi by her side. He unwrapped the square dango box and held it up to her. She reached and took a tri-coloured stick of dango and quietly munched on it.
Should she ask him about her dream? She was scared of his response; it was after all a sensitive topic. But curiosity was eating her up! Her thoughts kept her distracted long enough for Kakashi to eat his dango without revealing his face to her and the ever watchful world of Ninja.
She resisted her nosiness —they weren't nearly that close for her to freely ask him about such things. Instead, she focused on the stick of dango she carried. "I just realised I don't know much about you sensei… I had no idea you liked dango."
Kakashi chuckled. "Ah, I don't care much for sweets, but dango is one of the few I can stomach. I don't know that much about you either, Sakura-chan."
"You don't, huh?"
Of course, he didn't. It's true they were much closer now than they were a few years ago, but that didn't necessarily mean they had heartfelt conversations or anything. Their friendship mostly involved them occasionally getting lunch together, sometimes going out for drinks and Sakura dragging him to a few festivals now and then to ensure he didn't rot away in his shabby apartment.
"How about twenty questions?" Sakura realised belatedly how stupid that sounded and she felt her cheeks heat up, especially when he raised a silver eyebrow at her. Did he think she desired to pick through his personal life and ask him awkward questions? She hoped not.
"Okay," he said after a moment, much to her surprise. She half-suspected he might ignore her request or say something snarky in reply. "Shall I start or do you want to go first?"
"I'll start!" she hurriedly said, feeling jumpy. Sakura could barely believe he agreed to go along with her childish game, but his eyes crinkled in a familiar smile and it made her relax, like always.
"What was your first impression of me?" she asked in a dramatically quieter voice. She reasoned that starting with a question concerning herself would erase any doubt Kakashi had about her interrogating him.
Kakashi's face scrunched up in thought, and she waited for his reply with bated breath. "That you were a sweet girl… that focused too much on Sasuke, and had amazingly bright hair for a ninja."
Sakura flushed in embarrassment. She was still absolutely horrified over her behaviour around the poor twelve-year-old Uchiha. Every time she remembered how she nearly drooled over the stoic boy, she wanted to punch herself into next week.
The look of repulsiveness on her face had Kakashi chuckling in amusement. "Okay, what was your first impression of me?"
Sakura smiled cheekily at him, glad for the distraction off her horrific memories from the most embarrassing period of her life. "My thoughts were something along the lines of 'who's this self-righteous bastard and why is he acting so cool.'"
She was momentarily startled when he threw his head back and laughed. Sakura was positive she never heard him laugh before. Sure, she'd heard him giggle (and he always argued that he doesn't giggle) or chuckle, but never genuinely and outwardly laugh.
The pink haired medic couldn't stop the grin that spread across her face even if she'd tried; he had a nice laugh —deep and a little throaty.
"That's really sweet, Sakura," His laughter died into little chuckles. "You were all just a bunch of goofballs; I had to maintain the air of professionalism."
"You certainly did a good job. I was convinced you had no emotions," Sakura said nudging his side and his eyes yet again crinkled.
"Trust me, I very much do feel."
His comment made her stomach twist uncomfortably. Of course, he did, he is human. Whether he showed his emotions or not didn't erase them in any way. Also that dream…
She swallowed thickly, quickly continuing onto the second question before she could think more about the mysteries surrounding her former sensei.
"Alright... how old were you when you signed your summoning contract?" Sakura asked —honestly she was curious, it took her months to learn how to summon, and she was sixteen when she did it.
"Nine." He shrugged nonchalantly and stared ahead, but she could tell he was trying to suppress a smile.
Her mouth fell open.
"Nine?" She asked incredulously. "Oh, Hokages, Kakashi that's insane. Wow."
Kakashi was glad he wore a mask because if not then she might've seen him blush. He'd get praise here and there, but something about having one of his ex-students so in awe of his abilities when she was practically a legend at the age of nineteen made his chest swell with pride.
By the end of the game, Sakura had learned a few things about Kakashi —some were trivial like his favourite colour (which to her surprise was blue, not black) and some which left her gobsmacked, like the fact that he made Jounin at thirteen.
"Thanks for sharing your dango with me," she said sincerely when they reached her doorstep.
"Ah, it was a pleasure," he chirped with a look akin to that he displayed in one of her dreams when he was a carefree, happy child.
Without thinking about it, she hugged his middle section, burying her face in his uninjured shoulder. He seemed startled at the initiated physical contact but nevertheless patted her back comfortingly.
He smelled of pine, coffee and aftershave and he was warm and alive, and it contented her to her very bones. People often forgot about how much those around them mean to them until a tragedy happened and they nearly lost them. It reminded Sakura to never take anything for granted, including this contending safety she felt around him. It made her chest ache, and it caused her eyes to sting and her back to shake slightly, but she tightened her hold on him until she could breathe calmly once again. "Never do that to me again, Kakashi-sensei."
She felt his cheek press gently against her temple, and his voice reverberated through her skin when he replied, "I won't."
Sakura hesitantly pulled back, avoiding eye contact with him, her cheeks flushing brightly in embarrassment at her bold actions, and mostly because she could feel the wetness in her eyes and she didn't want him to see that.
"Goodnight," the younger of the two muttered. Her heart beat loud in her chest, and she felt an unfamiliar tingle in her heart, an ache she couldn't explain —one that became more pronounced when his warm hand pressed onto her head in an affectionate gesture.
She swallowed thickly and chanced a final glance at his face. He looked sincerely content. "Sweet dreams, Sakura."
Aaaaand you have that. If you're an old reader, and if it isn't too much to ask, please let me know your thoughts and if you liked this version better.
If you're a new reader, welcome to the rollercoaster that's UTU! I hope you stick around to find out where this story is heading.
Oh, and also, I'm looking for a beta. I need fresh eyes to spot them nasty mistakes. If you're interested, please message me.
BETA'D by Denilmo!
Review for shirtless Kakashi ;-) -Rams