Rushing in Blindly
Sasuke glared blankly at the machine next to him as if daring it to stop beeping. Content that it would not falter; Sasuke turned his softened gaze to the unconscious form of his pink haired teammate. Her skin was pail but it still glowed with life even if that glow was beginning to dim. Sasuke shook his head. He would not permit such thoughts in to his mind. She would be alright. She had to be.
…..He couldn't face the pain of loss again.
Four weeks ago
Sasuke sighed as he spotted Sakura rushing towards him while waving her hands wildly in the air in attempt to get his attention.
"Beautiful day isn't it Sasuke-kun?" she asked breathlessly as she came to a stop just a few steps away form where he stood leaning against the bridges railing. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were sparkling brightly from the exercise. Sasuke just rolled his eyes and looked away. "Hn."
Sakura's happy glow faded a bit, but before she had a chance to respond their last team member came racing up to them yelling out loudly. "OHAYO SAKURA-CHAN!"
"Be quiet you baka! Your to loud!" Sakura shouted in response as she allowed her fist to come crashing down on his head.
"ITAI! Sakura-chan that hurt." Naruto wined.
"Humph. You deserved it you baka." Was Sakura's only response.
A few hours later team seven was finally beginning to show signs of irritation. Even Sasuke.
"He's later than usual," Sasuke commented dully.
"He probably just wanted to sleep in, that lazy pervert!" Naruto shouted angrily, unknowingly waking the sleeping Sakura.
"Naruto you jerk! I was asleep!" she shouted as she jumped up and began to pummel the poor boy.
"WAI! Gomen Sakura-chan!" Naruto exclaimed giving it no thought at all that she was acting very awake for some one who had just been asleep.
"Ohayo Mina-san," Kakashi said as he suddenly appeared in front of his team. Immediately Sakura's abuse of her teammate stopped and both the abuser and the abused turned to face their sensei simultaneously. "YOUR LATE!" they shouted.
"Ah, gomen." Kakashi began, "You see there was this old lady that…" he didn't get to finish.
Kakashi sweat dropped. "Well anyway, I've received your mission from Hokage-sama."
Once again he was interrupted. "Is it really cool! Do we get to leave the village! Do we get to fight! Is it an A-rank mission!" Naruto asked in excitement until Sakura's fist once again made it's way onto his skull. "Itai!"
"Be quiet baka and let Kakashi-sensei finish!"
Naruto pouted as he rubbed his sore head.
"Now as I was saying, Hokage-sama thinks that you all aren't prepared enough for real fights, so she has decided to send you all on a training mission."
"That's it?" Naruto asked sullenly.
"Not quite," Kakashi answered. "In this mission you all have to make it to a shrine at the edge of the fire country where there will be a set of scrolls. Each team must get a scroll and make it back here without being disqualified by the training Nins."
"…COOL!" Naruto shouted as he began to bounce around. "When do we leave?"
Kakashi smirked under his mask. "As soon as your last teammate gets here."
His three students stared at him blankly until Sakura finally broke the silence. "Huh?"
"Last team mate?" Naruto asked in confusion before he turned to count how many people were here. "But Kakashi-sensei, we're all here already. Who are we waiting for?"
As if on cue a timid voice came from behind the three chunins. "O-oha-yo m-mina-s-san."
"Hinata? Why are you here?"
"She is going to be your forth member on this mission."
"Hey Sasuke," came a familiar voice from the door way behind him. "How is she?"
Sasuke took a deep breath before he responded. "Same." He turned to face his blond friend. "How's Hinata?"
Naruto sighed sadly, all traces of his normally happy attitude gone in the crushing weight of the current situation. "No change," he answered. "I'm only here cause the nurse kicked me out while she did her rounds."
Sasuke nodded not trusting himself to speak as he turned back to Sakura's limp form.
"Why did they do it?" Naruto asked bitterly. "Why didn't they run! They would have been alright! They wouldn't be here! So WHY!"
Sasuke said nothing. He knew the answer of course, but that didn't make it any less painful. What was the answer? Easy.
"Because they loved us."
The start of the mission
The three teams stood just outside of Konoha's gate waiting impatiently for the mission to begin.
"You all have three weeks to complete this mission. If you are not back by then you fail and a search team will be sent for you." Tsunade said as she looked at the gathered teams of four. "Watch out for each other, and good luck." She paused for a moment as all of the chunins got in position. "BEGIN!" All of the teams disappeared in a flash, each making their way towards the fire country's Nin shrine.
Team seven moved along easily, having no problems in dispatching the training Nins that were sent their way. A week into their journey and they where already almost at the hidden shrine.
"There are sure to be a bunch of Nins at the shrine already," Sakura said, finally breaking the comfortable silence that had settled over their camp. "They've probably set up traps too."
Sasuke was quiet as he tossed another log onto the fire. "What do you suggest?"
At first Sakura was surprised by his question but quickly set it aside as she began to think.
Hinata sighed contentedly as she sat with her new, temporary, team around the fire smiling softly as they waited for Sakura to come up with a strategy.
"Ne, ne, Hinata-chan," Naruto asked happily. "What'cha think'n about huh?"
Hinata blushed brightly at being addressed by her crush, "No-nothing really N-Naruto-kun."
Naruto's smile seemed to dim a bit. "Oh." He paused for a moment before. "Ne, Hinata-chan. Do you have a crush on any one?"
Hinata almost fell over with shock at the unexpected question. "W-why do you ask N-Naruto-k-kunn?" Hinata stuttered as she tried to avoid the question.
Naruto scrunched up his nose in thought. 'Why do I care?' he asked himself in confusion before he shook his head and responded. "Just curios I guess. Well?"
Hinata blushed as she mumbled something Naruto couldn't hear. "Ne Hinata-chan. What did you say?"
Hinata's blush grew deeper but she repeated herself anyhow. "Y-y-yes-s-s."
"Really?" Naruto asked, suddenly feeling a strange sense of loss. "What's he like?"
Hinata was trapped. She couldn't lie to Naruto but she didn't want to tell him the truth yet either.
"A-ano…. He-he's brave and st-strong, a-and he is alw-ways very happy. Ano…he always s-stands up f-for his beliefs a-and his friends a-and he h-helps me f-feel st-stronger. I-I r-really ad-ad-mi-er h-him." Hinata finished softly, almost in audibly.
Naruto felt crushed. 'Why do I feel like I just lost my whole world?' "He sounds like a really great guy Hinata-chan. I hope he feels the same about you." Is what he said when what he really wanted to do was go tear the guy limb-from-limb.
Their conversation, much to Hinata's relief, was cut short by Sakura's triumphant exclamation. "I have an idea!"
Naruto had left as soon as he was allowed back in Hinata's room, his concern for the Hyuuga heir overwhelming all of he senses. Sasuke sighed as he diverted his gaze from the girl in front of him to float around the room. He knew that the nurse would be here soon to check up on Sakura and that she would make him leave so he stood up to streach his muscles before he was asked to step out.
The monitors went crazy.
Sakura's plan had gone off without a hitch and the four chunins contentedly started on their way back to Konoha. Night fell and once again the four found themselves sitting around a small campfire. This time it was Sasuke who spoke first. "Good job Sakura." He said without even looking at her.
Sakura blushed under her crush's praise. "Arigato Sasuke-kun, but I really didn't do all that much."
"I-I ag-gree with S-Sasuke-san, a-after all th-those training Nins w-were jonins a-and they d-didn't even n-notice us." Hinata added.
Sakura's blush deepened. "Arigato, but we should really be thanking Shikamaru. After all, if he hadn't been teaching me to play go and shogi I wouldn't have thought of it."
Sasuke's head snapped over in Sakura's direction sharply. "What do you mean? When have you been playing go with Shikamaru?"
Sakura looked at him, her face a little puzzled. "Um, everyday after training, why?"
Sasuke growled unconsciously at the thought of her spending time alone with a boy. A boy that wasn't him. 'What the hell! Where did that thought come from!' he asked himself in barely concealed shock.
"Sasuke-kun? Are you alright?"
"Fine." He growled and Sakura let it drop.
Sasuke starred in numb shock as the machines around him began to shriek loudly signaling Sakura's fading life. Doctors rushed in as well as the fifth herself, each rushing around taking down notes and doing their best to save the young life placed in their hands.
One of the nurses accidentally ran into Sasuke sending him slightly off balance. "Oh! I'm sorry young man but you are going to have to leave." She said as she tried to push him out of the room.
"Like hell! I'm not leaving this room!" he shouted in anger and fear.
The nurse opened her mouth to argue but another high-pitched squeal cut her off. Sakura's heart monitor flat lined.
And Sasuke's world crumbled.
Four days out side of Konoha they were attacked again. None of them paid any real close attention to their opponents, that is, until Sakura nearly had a kunai thrust into her heart. Sasuke had only just made it to her side in time to pull her away from the fatal blow, the kunai scratching her arm as she was pulled to safety.
"What the hell is your problem!" Sasuke yelled at the Nin. "You could have killed her! What the hell kind of training Nin are you!"
The Nin in front of him chuckled maniacally. "Training Nin? Ha! More like assassin."
Sasuke was about to respond until he saw the hatai-ate tied around the Nins forehead. It had the mist symbol on it; only it had been sliced through by a kunai. 'A missing Nin?' Sasuke asked himself in confusion as he once again dodged another blow, dragging Sakura along with him.
Casting aside his confusion, Sasuke yelled out a warning. "Naruto! They're missing Nins! Kill them!"
Sasuke sat curled up in an empty corner of the room as he watched the doctors continue their work on Sakura. His eyes were blank and haunted as he watched Tsunade-sama back up with an empty smile on her face. The monitor was once again beeping telling him that Sakura hadn't left. That she was still with him, and yet he there he sat unmoving. As if he thought that a mere twitch of his finger would send his cherry blossom careening into the inescapable clutches of death. Slowly, painfully so, he stood and inched his way to the pail girls bedside.
The doctors parted allowing him access to do so. They flinched at the haunted, vulnerable, look on the boy's face. They doubted that anyone had seen the Uchiha heir look so human in years. The watched quietly as he kneeled next to Sakura's body. Tsunade bit her lip in order to hold back the tears that threatened to break loose as Sasuke reached out to touch the pink haired girl. First her neck, then her wrist checking for a pulse, followed by her mouth making sure that she was breathing, but when he lowered his ear to her chest and heard her heart beating nothing could stop the dam of tears from breaking loose and joining the ones that Sasuke was shedding on Sakura's sheets.
It wasn't long before the four of them ended up back to back, doing their best to ward off their many, many attackers. "What do we do?" Sakura asked in fear as she bit her lip in order to ward of her terrified tears.
Sasuke was quiet even as he mentally flinched at hearing the tears in her shaky voice.
"You'll have to run for it," He finally answered. "Naruto and I can hold them off long enough for the two of you to get away."
"HELL NO!" Both girls yelled out in protest.
"Don't argue!" Naruto snapped ignoring Hinata's sudden out of characteness. "There's no way in hell I'm gonna let two of the most important people in my life get killed!"
"Naruto's right," Sasuke added. "We'll clear you a path. Now get out of here!"
"NOW!" both boys shouted as one.
Sakura and Hinata couldn't help but shed a tear as they leapt into the trees.
"SASUKE!" Naruto shouted as he ran through the halls even as he made sure that the treasure in his arms was safe and protected. "SASUKE!"
Sasuke's head slowly came up off of Sakura's chest, tears still blurring his vision. Naruto threw open the door to Sakura's room with one hand as he clutched his precious bundle close with the other. Sasuke looked at Naruto in shock as his friend stood in the doorway with an awake and alert Hinata held protectively in his grasp.
"She-she's ok Sasuke," Naruto whispered as tears poured down his face. "Hinata's ok."
Sasuke and Naruto starred in shock as both Sakura and Hinata coughed out a disturbing amount of blood. The boys, though numb, still managed to catch the two as they fell backwards each with about a dozen of poisoned kunai lodged in various points of their bodies.
Naruto's eyes were wide and pained as he watched Hinata smile up at him with the last of her strength. Brokenly she managed to whisper one last thing to him before her body collapsed. "I'm g-gla-d t-that you-r al-alright, Na-ru-to-k-kun."
Naruto held her close to him as tears began to fall from his eyes. He felt as if his heart had just been torn in two as he gently layed the girl onto the leaf covered ground. "You…..you MONSTERS!" Naruto shouted as his eyes began to turn an evil shade of orange. "I'll kill you!"
Sasuke could hardly believe that Hinata was awake and lying in Naruto's arms even though Sakura was still unconscious. Turning his eyes away from the two of them he watched as Sakura gave a ragged breath. His mind turned bitter. Bitter at the fact that Hinata was well while at the same time Sakura was getting worse. It wasn't that he wished that Hinata was dying of course. He was just angry that Naruto had his flower back while his was still wavering.
In the wake of their rage, none of the Nins stood a chance against either one of the boys and all were quickly disposed of. Carefully the two of them removed the kunai from the girls' fading bodies before they picked them up. Gathering chakura into their feet both boys took off in the direction of Konoha cutting a four day trip down to a one and a quarter day all out sprint.
Kakashi looked up from his Icha Icha Paradise novel in surprise as he sensed his team and Hinata only a few minutes out side of the East Gate. "Well," he said as he put his book away. "I had better go and greet them!"
The senseis' smiling faces were immediately wiped away at the sight of Naruto's fox like appearance, and Sasuke's blood red sharingen. The two boys of team seven stopped in front of Tsunade instantly. They showed no signs that they had been running at all, in fact they looked as fresh as when they first left, aside from the fact that they looked half insane.
"Heal her," both demanded at once. "NOW!"
The girls had been out for a week and a half before Hinata finally woke up, and in that time a squad of Anbu had been sent out to study the remains of the missing mist Nins, two search squads had been sent out for the remaining teams, and had returned with them.
Also the boys had never left the girls side except for when they were forced by Tsunade herself. They had spent most of their solitude thinking as they watched the machines keep the two girls alive and, miraculously, they had come to the same conclusion.
These girls were their world. If they died then they had absolutely nothing left to live for.
Naruto frowned sadly as he watched Sasuke hold Sakura's limp hand. He couldn't help but hold Hinata closer while he watched Sasuke painfully beg for Sakura to awaken. He didn't know how he would take it if he was in Sasuke's position. It was hard enough when they were both unconscious but now that Hinata was awake, he could only imagine what was going through his friends mind at this very moment.
Night fell and all three of them fell asleep in Sakura's room. Naruto on a chair with Hinata resting on his lap and Sasuke on his knees with his upper half resting next to Sakura on her bed. Due to his position he was the first person to wake at Sakura's slight movement.
Sakura's hand twitched lightly and Sasuke's head shot up, instantly alert as he stared hard at the pink haired girl. Again her hand twitched, this time moving slightly over top of his own.
"Sakura?" he whispered, hardly daring to hope. As if summoned by his call, Sakura's eyes gently fluttered open only to be glazed over by concern as she watched tears gather in Sasuke's already red eyes.
"Sasuke-kun?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper. "Are you alright?"
Instead of answering, Sasuke just leaned over and caught her lips with his own.
Kaliea: yeah the ending sucks but it 1 o'clock in the morning. Please review. Ja
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto