Author's notes:
Well, this actually started as a weird dream! One of the best I've ever head of any manga I know! So you see it was kinda hard to get it down into words, but my sis thinks it went all quite well... you've to find out yourself!
There's a lot of swearing, blood and death... hopefully no casualties among our heroes though!

Just for the records: Hey, Tobi-hime! lol... just kidding! (my bro... complained that I never mention his name O.O') And hugs and kisses go to Maren-chan, Shan-sama and Katrin-chan! You go girls!

--------------------

'Sorry'

Sad eyes watched as hands, drenched in fresh red blood, stopped glowing in a bluish light.
Another drop of crimson liquid dripped down onto the young woman's knees, cascading down her almost immaculate white skin.
Only some scars and dirt tainted her.

There had been a short moment when she had felt pain.
Not from the kunai imbedded deeply within her left shoulder, having torn apart muscles and punctured the bone protecting her lung there. The pain had not come from the exhaustion or the lack of chakra, making her body ache and her unable to heal her own wounds.

The pain had run down her spine, having pierced through her core like a katana and had forced her to bit back the sob that had threatened to escape her dry lips.

It had been when the shinobi's heart had ceased to work and Sakura had realized, had been 'forced' to realize, that there was nothing she could have probably done. For both him and his fallen comrade, who had been fending off the hostile ninjas for the last few minutes.

Looking up, the sadness disappeared within an eye's blink, being replaced by pure anger. Sakura stared calmly at the man standing across the street, a kunai dangling from a finger as he smiled cockily down at the kneeling woman.

"You finished?" He asked her in an almost light tone of voice, slowly advancing towards her.

'He thinks you're easy prey...' Sakura thought numbly, watching as he got nearer. 'He's wrong!'

Jumping up from the dirty ground, Sakura attacked the man frontally, the noise of two kunais clashing agaist each other echoeing through the silence in her ears.
She pressed him backwards against a wall of an old house, a silent grunt of the surprised man being enough Sakura needed to focus just the right amount of chakra into her left index finger.

In one swift movement, she pressed the digit against the side of her enemies neck. Her chest tightened, pressing out a controlled lung of oxygen.
The chakra flooded out of her finger into the shinobi's neck just like the air she had just exhaled.

This was definitely one of the easier tricks she knew.

A choked gasp could be heard from him and Sakura let go of his hand, retreating hastily backwardsto gain some space between the two of them.
Another gasp errupted from his throat as he desperately tried to inhale, but it seemed his chest refused his brain's order to heave. Slowly his lips turned blue and the trembling muscles of his fingers couldn't hold the kunai any longer, the weapon falling soundly to the ground.

Before he fell to his knees, Sakura had already turned around.

She had never been the person to watch a man dying. Enemy or not.

Again her eyes found the two dead leaf-ninjas and silently begged for forgiveness.

They hadn't been the first dead she had seen or hadn't be able to rescue.
Sakura had been a medical nin for years now and had gone on many missions. Most of them where high class ones, where she was either an additional member in an ANBU squad or the main head of the medical team.

Sakura had watched how fast people could both kill and die.

Most of the time it took weeks and months to prepare for a mission and it didn't matter whether it was an assassination or a difficult escort. But to finish the job or in the worst case to 'get' finished took usually mere seconds.
A single heartbeat that could lead to victory or death.

Sakura was always there to prevent latter from happening.
Rescue lives at all costs without jeopardizing either the missions or 'more' lives.

Of course even she couldn't save everybody.
'That' had been one of the hardest lessons she had had to learn. Her sensei had made sure from day one that Sakura realized it. Death was not her fault!

She just wished she would never have to tell herself that when her friends lay dead before her feet, their blood covering her hands...

A noise different from the rest of the battle raging on around her caught her attention at once, alert eyes searching her surroundings as she waited for the person having caused it to appear.

"Sakura!"

Making a tight fist and directing her concern into it was all Sakura could do to prevent herself from running to her best friend, hugging her against her just because she was glad she was still alive.
"Ino! How are you?"

"Fine... it's all done. Civilions all evacuated and hopefully safe..." Ino stopped mid-sentence when she saw the bodies, most of them from sound, scattered across the small area of the backyard. The two prone figures of the leaf-shinobis caught her eyes, making a lump rise in her throat. 'Sakura...'

Knowing where Ino's thoughts were heading rapidly, Sakura took the opportunity to run up to Ino, taking her hand and jumping up with her onto a roof. Immediately smoke started burning in her tired eyes and the heat of a nearby burning store licked at her sensitive skin.

"Any news from the others"
"No. They're still not back and Tsunade is running around in circles. We already got a lot of casualties and won't be able to fight back for much longer..."

A shuriken whizzed past Ino's head, making her stop momentarily before the kunai of her friend killed their opponent.

"What about 'him'?" Sakura suddenly asked almost in a whisper, but Ino knew immediately who she meant.
"Jiraya's with Tsunade right now... I overheard a conversation where he mentioned that Sasuke is not in Konoha." She could almost see her friend gulping hard at the news. "He thinks he's left Orochimaru to finally take care of his brother."

Some seconds passed by with no-one interrupting the silence.
Sakura's eyes were alert, watching their surroundings carefully seemingly for the enemy, but Ino had been her friend long enough to know what she was 'really' looking for. A young man with black messy hair and eyes that told you 'eat shit.
For strangers it must have seemed like she hadn't been listening at all.

Suddenly Sakura inhaled soundly. "Thanks, Ino..." Pausing she searched her mind for a safer topic. "Do you know what Tsunade wants?"

"She asked me to get ya because the Hokage tower is filled to the rim with injured and the medics have a hard time keeping them alive"
"Yeah, already guessed so. Came back because I couldn't do anything for the dead in the area around the south gate." Sakura paused for a second, focusing more chakra into her feet as they had to jump across a large snake that had appeared out of the nowhere right underneath them.

Instead of attacking it, they sped up, heading to the tower in the middle of Konoha and out of the monster's reach.
There was nothing the two of them could have probably done alone against the thing with nobody being around to help them.
Hell, even a dozen of healthy shinobis couldn't beat the snakes!

"Ibiki gave the order himself to retreat... said, I should go and rescue lives where still were..." The rest of the sentence caught in her throat as she remembered all the blood and ripped bodies.

Sakura had never seen anything like this in her young life.
The great war had already ended when she was small and the stories of those who had survived and the reports in her history book hadn't even started to cover what really happened in such a war, no, massacre!

'Naruto... I hope you're right...'

----------

"That fucking rat! I gonna chop off his head and stick it onto a rod running around town with his sorry shit-head"
Claws dug hard into his palm as Naruto jumped through the thick crowns of the trees of the forest of Konoha. He had to fight the need to rip off every branch that came into his way.

"Line up, Naruto!" Kiba yelled from behind him, having a hard time keeping up with the young man... just like most of the other shinobis chasing after Naruto on their way back to Konohagakure. "Ya're not the only one whose fingers are itching to get his ass!"

"We don't know what's going to wait for us when we arrive!" A silver-haired man yelled as he caught up to Naruto.
"So don't rush blindly into any trouble, ya heard me Naruto!"

Naruto didn't have to see the man's face to know that it was Kakashi telling him to calm down.

But, damn it, they had been deceived!
That snake-bastard had made total fools out of them! And now he was miles away from where the 'real' fight was going on,
having a happy stroll through the damn forest!

"Naruto"
Blinking as another branch appeared in his line of view, Naruto realized that his breathing had quickened and blood trickled down his right wrist from the wounds in his palm his claws had caused.

Kakashi jumped onto another tree and looked sideways at his former student.
"There was nothing we could have done! We got the information that Orochimaru would be attacking the southern border and I don't recall having read any word about a trap!"

"Yeah," Naruto mumbled, "That ero-sennin's sources of information have been much more reliable"
"They could at least have left out the welcome party!" Kiba shouted from where he was speeding after Naruto.

Naruto exhaled sharply when he remembered the twenty sound ninjas standing in the forest laughing maniacally as they told the leaf-nins that they had been messed around with... big time!
While the team of about two hundred of the best Konoha ninjas had been staring perplexed at the hostile group of men, hundreds of sound-nins were swarming the village... the unprotected village!

Naruto and his comrades had only needed minutes to finish the other party off, having turned around on their heels to get back to their homes ASAP. But they had still needed almost seven hours to even see the first glimpses of the city.

Or better, 'smell' it...

"Oh God..." Lee heard Kiba mumble as the scent of burnt wood and flesh reached his over-sensitive nose. His short prayer was accompanied by the low howl of his canine friend, Akamaru.

Looking up, Kakashi noticed thick clouds of grey smoke hovering dangerously above the village, bathing it in a gloomy light.
He too could smell the first signs of war and took a shuddered breath as he tried to prepare himself mentally for the upcoming scene.

"Look out!" The voice of an ANBU errupted from beside Gai, who immediately swivelled around to find a gigantic snake crawling slowly out of a large hole in the ground in front of them.

Trees crashed down onto the ground, shattering into uncountable pieces from the hard fall.
Smoke started burning in their eyes, making it almsot impossible for the ninjas to see a hand before them.

Suddenly a sound like thousand chirping birds could be heard to Gai's left and he knew without having to see anything that the snake wouldn't be any of their concern much longer. His eternal rival would take care of it now.

"Rasengan!" A voice suddenly yelled above the chirping sound, undoubtfully belonging to Jiraya's student.

Then everything seemed to slow down around Gai.
An explosion lit the air in front of him and in the fraction of a second when its light flashed through the forest, he saw both Kakashi and Naruto jumping right through the monstrous body of the snake, burnt flesh sizzling as the blue and red chakra in the two outstretched hands forced their way through the beast.

The snake was dead before it hit the ground, giving the way free for the shinobis to the destroyed south gate.

"Sakura..." Naruto thought as he saw the first corpses of both leaf and sound nins littering the entrance to the city.

----------

"Sakura!"

Frowning, the young woman looked up from where her hands were pressed over a shoulder. She had successfully fixed the torn off arm back to the body and was about to heal another severe wound, when she had heard her name being yelled above the noises of screaming wounded and exploding houses.

"Tsunade wanna see ya!"

It was Shizune. And she didn't sound too happy.

Jumping up, she gave the whimpering man a tight smile and ran into the direction she thought Shizune was.
Sakura found her, kneeling above a woman who was trashing around wildly. Her trouser was torn apart and bones were sticking out of the crushed leg.

"She's in her office"
"You going to make it alone here?" Sakura asked, panting from the straining last healing processes.

"Probably not." Shizune smiled back tightly, the ninja she was taking care off slowly calming down under her ministrations.

Nodding, Sakura carefully made her way through the injured men and women filling the hallways of the Hokage tower. It was almost the only intact building in Konoha.
The ninjas that were still able to fight were outside giving everything to fend off the enemy, because there was no way that the tower could be evacuated without losing a majority of the wounded. No, not in this chaos.

But it was also clear that the shinobis were fighting a losing battle.
Every time one sound nin was down, three appeared in his place.

"Tsunade, what's..." The pink-haired kunoichi yelled, entering the office without waiting for an answer.
"Sakura take Shikamaru and greet 'em at the south gate." Tsunade interrupted her apprentice mid-sentence, walking to the with boards barricaded window and peeked through a small gap in the roughly built construction.

"Tell Naruto the Akatsuki are here and that"
"What! What are 'they' doing here?" Bewildered and alarmed, Sakura walked up to her sensei, hands gripping the edge of the large messy desk hard.

Looking across her shoulder, Tsunade sighed and nodded her chin towards a corpse of a leaf-nin in a corner of the room.
"His comrades brought him about an hour ago. He wasn't injured fatally, only some scratches and bruises. But he was trashing around wildly and begged that 'he' should stop it... it was a powerful genjutsu."

'Mangekyo Sharingan', Sakura thought immediately.

"You're right." Tsunade said in a low tone of voice, confirming Sakura's worst fears.
"The poor guy probably didn't even see it coming... He died from a heart-attack some minutes ago... couldn't deal with the immense stress."

"They're after him..." Sakura suddenly mumbled and looked up from the desk like in trance.
"Yes. That's why we want you to go to the south gate and take care of that brat." This time it was the second sannin, Jiraya,
who interrupted her. He had been standing in the far right corner, leaning against some bookshelves with crossed arms.

Sakura hadn't even sensed his chakra.
'Calm down...' she told herself. She would be of no use in such a state of mind.

"You know he's short-tempered and is probably already running around headless on his search of Orochimaru's ass." He said with a heavy sigh. "There aren't many people he'll listen to in this state and you're one of them... probably the most likely one." Jiraya told Sakura sincerely with a small smile.

Pushing away from the window, Tsunade walked over to where her old friend was still standing.
"Be careful... remember what I told you, Sakura." The young woman met the eyes of her teacher. "If you get killed, who's gonna save your friends?"

With that, Tsunade made a fist and concentrated a large amount of chakra in it, making it glow in an eery blue light. Without warning she smashed her fist into the bookshelves, the wood exploding under the power of the blow. Jiraya merely ducked as pieces came flying his way, before he made his way to the door.

Tsunade followed closely behind.
"Just don't get killed, Sakura."

She left her student standing alone in the large office.

'Itachi is here...', Sakura thought, her eyes slowly closing as she tried to get her breathing back under control.
What should she do? How could she help Naruto? Sakura knew she was probably no match at all for the older Uchiha, though she was known to be a genjutsu expert and never ran easily into traps of these kind.

But the Sharingan alone was way too powerful for most shinobis in her village. 'That' she knew for sure.
Sakura had, after all, been training with Kakashi for years and had improved her own abilities by studying him. And he had only 'one'!

The problem with Itachi wasn't only the fact that he had been born with two sharingan, but that he had been able to arouse the most powerful weapon the Uchiha clan had had. The Mangekyo sharingan.

How could she of all people...

"Yo, Sakura"
Looking up, the pink-haired kunoichi stared into the tired eyes of Shikamaru.

"Ya ready?" He asked her without any energy left in his voice.
"Yeah... how are you?" She queried in concern, nodding her chin towards a large flesh wound on his shoulder and some smaller, bleeding gashes on his face.

"Been better..."

----------

"Kage bunshin no jutsu!"

Out of the nowhere, twenty Narutos appeared, not waiting a second before they started attacking the group of sound-nins. The men had been burning down houses and plundering stores when Naruto, Kakashi, Gai, Neji and Lee had stumbled across them on their way to the Hokage tower.

Some of the kage bunshins soon dissolved in a cloud of white smoke as their enemies finished them off with some well-thrown shurikens and kunais. They weren't a match for the five high-class ninjas though.

Having revealed his left eye a long time ago, Kakashi had no problem foreseeing the moves of the ninjas, their own ninjutsus soon being copied by the jounin and defeating their original owners.

"Neji... are there any people in the houses?" Lee asked his comrade as he killed one of the last remaining sound-nins with a roundhouse kick. The man fell dead before Lee's feet, his head twisted in an unnatural angle. Not even Sakura would know how to fix 'that', Lee thought with a smirk.

Large white eyes stared ahead, seemingly looking right through the houses surrounding the Hyuga.
After some seconds he released a soft sigh and his stoic stance relaxed slightly.

"There are only corpses. It appears Hokage the fifth has evacuated all civilians, though there is no sign that they are hiding in the monument or the mountains." Neji finished with a slight frown.

"What do you mean? Then where are they?" Lee asked, irritation audible in his voice.

"Not important, Lee." His sensei told him, laying an assuring hand on Lee's shoulder. "There's another hiding place but the location is not be revealed while there might be the enemy listening to us." Gai finished, his eyebrows knitted into a concentrated frown as he surveyed the rooftops towering above the street they were standing in.

Neji nodded absently, advancing to where Gai was. His teacher had an expression on his face the young man had come to know quite well... they weren't alone anymore. It seemed like this city was a huge nest swarming with enemies... the creatures were just waiting for the right opportunity to come out of their hiding places.

"Get your asses outta your dirty holes, bastards!" Naruto's voice suddenly errupted from beside Kakashi, evoking a heavy sigh from the older man. He had been waiting for this to come for minutes...

Suddenly a shuriken-volley showered down on the five leaf-shinobis.
One of them graced Kakashi's left upper arm, but apart from that he had to say the sound-nins had poor aim. And when he found his comrades almost laughing about the 'hunters', he knew he wasn't the only one.

"Took ya long enough..." Was all Naruto mumbled before he dashed forward into a broken house.
The wall crumbled into pieces when he returned, his claws digging into the shirts and skin of three ninjas that had been hiding behind it.

There was no second chance for either of them.

Kakashi, having just taken care of two enemies himself, stared wide-eyed at a large man towering above Lee.
He had somehow managed to get the young man to fall and was preparing his final blow.

Kakashi didn't waste a second and went through a set of hand seals.
When he finished with 'horse', the ground underneath the man started to shake violently and large roots shot out of the soil. They encircled his limbs and chest, the pressure around the body increasing and slowly suffocating the sound-nin.

A cheeky grin must have covered Kakashi's lips, because his eyes crinkled up into a smile as Lee thanked him with a slight bow as he got up again.

Suddenly, a rush of air flew past his right ear. With wide eyes, Kakashi swivelled around, finding Gai holding a man with a covered face by his collar. His feet dangled some centimeters above the ground, limply. He was obviously already dead.

"You have been more of an opponent, Kakashi! Maybe you're getting old?" Gai asked with a bright smile on his face.
"Uhm...maybe..." Kakashi sighed exaggeratedly and dusted off some imaginary dirt of his thighs.

"We should part here." Neji's voice cut through the silence before it had time to expand. "That way we can take care of more areas and get rid of the enemies"
"He's right, guys!" The blond young man said, kracking his knuckles and staring at a distant clouded spot in the sky.

Clearing his throat, Kakashi walked towards Naruto, hands in his trouser pockets.
"See ya around, Gai." He said in a casual voice and disappeard on a roof.

Naruto chuckled humorlessly before he followed the silver-haired jounin.

----------

"Where are they, dammit"
Sakura was pissed off. Big time!

Where were they?
Shikamaru and her had been running through the village for almost an hour now, having not seen the smallest glimpse of Naruto or anybody else of the shinobis that had been sent to the border over half a day ago.

"No explosions or yelling... Naruto really is nowhere here..." Shikamaru said while jumping onto a lantern that hadn't been broken yet.

"Very funny, Shik..." The rest of her sentence came out in a rush of air when a heavy weight suddenly pressed down on Sakura's back, smashing her down into the cobblestone ground. The right side of her face felt like on fire as it scraped along the rough surface. "Urgh..." Was all she could utter as she seemed to get no air into her burning lungs.

The foot on her shoulder blade pressed down harder and out of the corner of her eye, the green eyed woman saw the gleaming metallic end of a kunai.

'Get up!' With sheer willpower, Sakura forced an arm unedrneath her chest and pushed upwards.
Rolling onto her left side, the kunai crashed into the ground right beside her ear, small pieces of stone flying through the air from the impact and hitting her cheek.

She inhaled hastily and sat up in one fluid motion. One hand flew to the shuriken holster and wanted to pull out some of the small weapons, when a fist connected with her temple, sending her flying to the other side of the street.

For a rather long second everything was black.
The only thing she could hear was a high-pitched humming.

In this second Sakura didn't think about the injuries that could have caused the black spots dancing through her line of view or the strange melody her brain was playing, nor did she waste it for regret.

'Where's Shika?'

Suddenly it didn't matter that she could still not entirely see her opponent (though she still didn't know 'how' many there were)
or hear anything for that matter.
'When you get killed, who's gonna save your friends?'

Inhaling as deeply as she could Sakura got up from the ground, jumping to the right where no distant shadows were looming around in the street, moving towards her.
An explosion errupted from where she had been leaning against the wall and for a split second Sakura was glad her ears were only slowly regaining their function back.

She couldn't make out much, but it was enough. There was for example the dull sound of two set of boots walking up towards her and an alien, muffled voice swearing as somebody wounded him in a fight.

"Pretty babe... going to have some fun"
The voice was only some feet away from where the young woman was still kneeling on the hard ground, praying for her senses to come back 'now'!

Looking up she found a dark shadow slowly crouching down in front of her, a hand expanding towards her head.

Sakura was low on chakra, but hell would freeze before she would give up!
Getting up her hands flew through a complicated set of seals. In the process she had backed away from the two man as far as she could until her legs bumped into a wall.

"Stone Hail!"

A low rumble made the two sound-nins stop dead in their tracks. Frowning they stared at their surroundings, when the ground started shaking slightly.
"What the fu..."

Suddenly the cobblestones exploded, parts of the stones as large as fists flying in high speed towards the two dumbfounded shinobis.
Immediately they dodged the first missiles, one of them backflipping until he was at the end of the street. There he ran up the wall of a three-story apartment, thinking he was safe up there.

He was wrong.

While his teammate was already losing consciousness in the street below, he used shurikens and a kunai to repel the bullet-like stones successfully. When one larger object threatened to hit his legs, he pushed away from the wall, making a somersault in midair and breaking the attacking stones there with chakra enhanced hands.

Smiling cheekily, the sound-nin landed gracefully on another housewall, staring ahead to where Sakura was standing with hands clenched together as she fought to keep the jutsu going.
Making up his mind he jumped to yet another house but before his feet could touch the wall a boulder the size of a head hit his back hard. Slowly his mind fogged and he had no control over his chakra anymore.

He crashed into the street and was buried underneath a mass of debris in an instant.

A third sound-nin, who had been taking care of Shika, stared wide eyed at his former teammate, when suddenly the wall behind him exploded into another stone shower.
His already bleeding hands were no use against the unstoppable amount of stones and his vision was already blurred from both blood and some severe head-wounds.

Ducking as another stone came flying his way, he scrambled over to where Sakura was still standing, breathing heavily as she had to concentrate hard on keeping up the jutsu that ate a lot of her remaining chakra.

He had to kill her!
With that thought in mind, he started forming a handseal. He inhaled deeply as he prepared for his own deathly jutsu, when his legs suddenly just stopped.

The ninja couldn't move an inch, his limbs having freezed. He was unable to get them to cooperate and when his eyes travelled erratically across the street he found a young man standing some meters away from him, his shadow connected with his own.

His breathing quickened and his lungs burned as he started getting hysterical.
He knew he was trapped. He couldn't move an inch and the girl was still able to finish him off with her jutsu!

Trembling legs seemed no longer able to keep him upright but thanks to the leaf-shinobi's jutsu, he wouldn't fall. When his dilated eyes flickered across the houses searching for 'anything' that could rescue him now, they suddenly caught the moving form of the kunoichi.

And that's when he realized that the stones hadn't hit yet.

Sakura was panting heavily, sweat covering her forehead from the strain.
That's why she had stopped her ninjutsu when she had realized that the ninja couldn't move because of Shikamaru's Kagemane no jutsu. She couldn't afford to lose any more chakra right now. Who knew for what she would need it later on!

She was only inches away from the hostile ninja when she extended an arm towards him, her right index finger already glowing dark blue, almost purple.
Sakura pressed it against the man's temple and almost instantly his eyes stopped flickering across her face and his eyelids closed halfway.

"Let him go, Shika." Sakura instructed her friend in a quiet voice, who obeyed gladly as he could finally let go of the man and sack down against a tree.
The leaf-nin slumped to the ground dead, some blood trickling out of his ears.

Closing her eyes for a second, Sakura inhaled deeply and turned then back to where Shikamaru was leaning heavily against the tree for support. His left arm was bent at a funny angle and a large gash at his head's side bleeded profoundly.
Walking up towards him, she crouched down by his side, her hands immediately flying towards his arm.

"Don't." He told her softly, looking into her tired eyes. "You'll need that energy for patients in worse condition"
Smiling softly, Sakura's hand started glowing.
"If I don't heal that now, it'll be a problem later and you can't use any jutsu... and won't be able to rescue me or anybody else."

Sighing in defeat, Shikamaru stared at the rooftop on the other side of the street. He could feel the warmth of Sakura's chakra flowing into his arm, his bones shifting back into their original position without any pain.
It was done in less than a minute and when he looked back down at his arm, only a hematoma reminded him of the painful fracture.

Sakura sat down beside him, using her arm to wipe away the sweat, blood and dirt from her forehead.
She was exhausted to the bones and didn't even know for how much longer she would be able to stand upright.

Her left hand wandered to her pouch filled with medical supplies and fished out a small box with pills.
"Here." She offered her comrade one of them and swallowed a red pill herself. "Soldier pill... gonna need the energy boost"
"Probably..." Shikamaru muttered before gulping down the pill dry.

Before either of them had time to relax, a noise caught both Shika's and Sakura's attention.
It had come from the right side of the street and was advancing quickly towards them.

Both shinobis jumped up, getting ready to fight their new opponent, when suddenly the green spandex suit of Lee came into view.
"Sakura!" He yelled as he finally came to a halt in front of them, breathing heavily and sweat dripping down his thick brows.

"Lee! God, you're alright!" Sakura hugged the perplexed young man tightly against her chest.
"I-I... We need you! I've been looking for you for twenty minutes already!"

Frowning, Sakura let go of her friend and regarded him with a blank look.
"Tenten! We found her near the Uchiha mansions! She's injured badly!"

Eyes widening in shock, Sakura didn't even realize that she started to move.
Her hand gripped tightly onto both Shikamaru's and Lee's, dragging them along behind her as she ran through the street and jumped onto the first roof.

Immediately Lee took the lead and headed towards the northern end of the village where the Uchiha district was with the abandoned stores and houses.

'Dammit!', Sakura thought angrily, making a fist as she prayed silently that it wasn't as bad as Lee had said.

Tenten was pregnant.
She was in the eighth month already and should have been evacuated along with the rest of the villagers.
Apparently, Tenten had been just like always. Hotheaded and not willing to just leave the fight to the rest of the leaf-shinobis.

It had only been Tsunade's threat that she had taken the offered maternity leave at all some two months ago!
Even her soon-to-be husband hadn't been able to get her to take it slow.
"Is Neji alone with her?" Sakura asked, concern lacing her voice.

"Yes. Gai-sensei is searching for you elsewhere!" Lee answered during a jump across a street.

Hyuga Neji, the best jounin of his age and owner of the powerful Byakugan had never been the person to lose his cool, but when it came to his fiancee and their unborn child, the man was nothing but a hysterically crying baby.

He was not able to think properly when anything happened to Tenten.

A small smile played at Sakura's lips when she remembered the day he had learned of Tenten's pregnancy.
She had been allowed to break the news to them and had thanked Tsunade later for having given her this opportunity to see the Hyuga lose it.

The black-haired man had stared blanky at the medical nin, not noticing the tear-stricken face of his happy girlfriend as she gripped his hand so tightly that it had turned purple. Sakura had even made him sit down when his knees had started to buckle.

But Tenten wasn't the picture-book mother Sakura had wished for and she had had a hard time getting the other woman to take it more easy. Tenten had refused to stop training until she had had some contractions during one of her harder workouts.
Sakura had been able to prevent her from going into labour but the ordered bed rest had only lasted for a week.

"Do you know why she wasn't in the hideout?" Sakura wanted to know.
"No, but it seemes she has fought against five sound-nins. When we arrived they were dead and Tenten was propped up against a house. She's bleeding pretty bad and it seemes she's in labour." Lee told her in a controlled voice. "Neji refused to leave or transport her."

Sakura nodded, already starting to plan her next moves.
Tenten was her prior concern. Even if that ment losing the child, the mother had to come first!

"There!" Lee's voice cut through her train of thoughts as he pointed to where two figures half sat half lay on the hard ground.

The green-eyed woman jumped down the last roof and landed some meters away from her friends. She ran straight towards them,giving her brain no time to access the situation.
She kneeled down immediately beside Tenten and checked her neck for a pulse. Finding a faint but steady rhythm, she breathed a sigh of relief.

When her eyes travelled down the other woman's body she was shocked to find a large wound gaping open at the side of her belly.
It looked like a katana had sliced right through the side, having damaged at least a kidney and the liver judging by the large amount of dark blood.

Forming the handseals 'tiger' and 'dog', Sakura's right hand pressed down onto the gaping hole, a dark pink chakra being emitted from her five fingers as they worked on fixing the most severe wounds.
Sakura's left hand wandered down Tenten's hip and between her legs, feeling for signs of how far she was in labour.

"Dammit..." The child was on its way and this time Sakura wouldn't be able to prevent it from being born.

"Tenten? Can you hear me"
But the unconscious woman didn't answer, the only response being a sharp intake of breath as another contraction hit her. Her sweaty brow was knitted together, making her look like she was thinking hard about something.
It wasn't a good sign at all.

"Neji, Lee, Shika, have you something to cover the baby and Tenten with? Night's gonna be too cold for them!" Sakura asked as she looked down to where the hole in Tenten's side slowly closed, the bleeding having already stopped.
Carefully not to let go of the wound, Sakura crawled around her friend's side to where her legs were open and slightly bent.

"I'll find something, Sakura!" Lee almost shouted and went off into search for blankets or anything resembling one.
Sakura didn't miss the slight nervous edge to his normally steady, bright voice.

Sighing, her eyes gazed up to where Neji was sitting behind Tenten, his arms slung aroung her protectively as her head lay in his lap. He was white as a sheet and breathing irregularly as he kept on staring down at his fiancee's greyish face.

He was in shock!

"Neji!... Neji! Dammit! I can't have you going crazy on me now! Think about Tenten and get a grip!" She almost yelled, hoping to get his attention that way, while she couldn't get away from where she was feeling for the head of the unborn inbetween Tenten's legs.

"Tenten..." He suddenly whispered, his eyes starting to brim with tears.
At least he reacted to Sakura's voice.
"If you don't stay focused, you can't help her!" She really wanted to slap him hard! Now was neither the time nor the place to lose it!

'SLAP'

Looking up for a second, she found Neji looking up stunned at his friend Shikamaru, who had just hit him with his fist right into his face. Neji's cheek was red and he had to blink a few times to re-focus.
"How troublesome..." Shika muttered when he found the other young man gripping harder onto his pale girlfriend.
At least he responded...

"S-sorry... I wasn't there..." He mumbled suddenly as tears started rolling down his cheeks.

Swearing silently under her breath, Sakura watched out of the corner of her eyes as Shikamaru put a supporting hand on Neji's shoulder. Where the hell was Lee when she needed him?
But her mind didn't get the chance to follow the thought further when her hand suddenly made contact with the soft head of the baby.

It wouldn't take much longer, but when she checked the vital signs of Tenten, the fear that she wouldn't make it grew rapidly in Sakura. She would have to take care of her first!

"Sakura?" Startled, she looked up. Her eyes found the glassy ones of Tenten staring tiredly back at her.
"Save... my child."

--------------------

FINIS!

Du-du-duuuuuumm! What will happen... hmmm... maybe you wanna know as well? Get in line and review! The review-monster is hungry. See ya around! XD

Oh, got a question! Does anybody know what 'little sister' means in japan? Please tell me! Than in advance!