COLD

An ItaSaku fic

By: Inosenteng Tabonista


Chapter 13: The Poison

The sky had cleared completely and stray rays of sun escaped through the foliage and to the stream before them. Sakura opened her eyes slowly, taking in the scene before her.

"It's beautiful," exclaimed Sakura.

It was as if she was seeing the forest with new eyes. She saw the bubbling brook, the trees pointing to the azure skies, and the birds, chirping, bidding her welcome. The scent of fresh pine trees and fruit trees and damp earth filled her senses, and Sakura marvelled at the irony of being surrounded by so much life, and yet with death not far behind them.

Itachi moved to walk on the gentle brook, laying her down quietly on top of it. He then performed the seals required for Sakura's access to chakra. Sakura sat on top of the water as she focused a little of her chakra on her lower body to avoid sinking.

This is the best I can do. It will be too troublesome to look for herbs now.

Gathering chakra into her right hand, Sakura began immediately. She molded chakra into a ball of water she got from the stream beneath her, with expert precision. The Uchiha moved to her side in silence, watching her like a hawk. With her left hand Sakura attempted to tear the clothing on her left leg, but fearing she might disturb her control on her right hand, she looked to Itachi for help.

Understanding, the Uchiha tore the clothing on her left leg and tossed it aside. Sakura gulped hard when she realized that her leg had become pale and cold and heavy, as she could not move it. Itachi's hand on her thigh was warm in comparison. Sakura blushed slightly as she realized that had it been a normal day, he would be holding her inappropriately. But then it was not, beginning with the fact that they were attacked by no other than the half-snake Kabuto.

Sakura blushed some more when she realized that Itachi had been watching the changes of expression in her face with an expectant look on his face. Without further delay, she began.

The first extraction was always most painful. Hot moisture of sweat stung at her eyelids as she began to push the chakra ball inside her legs. She could almost feel her muscles quiver. Sakura shredded her lip with her teeth in pain. The chakra ball had now fully entered her thigh, and she began pulling the poison out using her chakra. Her leg convulsed violently, as if taking life on its own. The Uchiha held her leg down firmly.

Sakura choked back a cry. She had done this with unconscious patients, but she did not know it would be this painful when done on herself, consciously. In the heat of the moment of Kabuto's attack she had not noticed that her life had seemed to have been dangling by a thread as she looked at the chakra ball, which was filled with small red spots.

"Red poison?" said Sakura, as she panted heavily, her left leg shaking incontrollably from the extraction process.

If made with iron elements, this poison should be a bit purplish. Why is it dark red?

Tossing the poison carefully to the ground beside her, she exhaled heavily, her mind tinkering with the possibilities.

This is not only made of iron elements.

Creating another chakra ball, she began the second extraction on her lower thigh, near her knees. She was sure the poison had not spread to any of her internal organs just yet, because if it had, she would have felt it immediately.

Gritting her teeth in frustration, she finally realized what it was as she looked at the second chakra ball as she pulled it out. It was empty. Indeed, the senbon cannot possibly contain too much poison, but it was surprising for her not to see anything in the second chakra ball. Narrowing her eyes slightly, Sakura frowned as the Uchiha spoke.

"I see the same red dots, Sakura," said the Uchiha. Turning to him, Sakura saw that he had activated his sharingan. "They're far smaller than the last."

Frowning some more in confusion, Sakura carefully tossed the chakra ball aside. She was perspiring and shaking at the same time, especially her leg.

"We're done, I think," replied Sakura. She could hear a loud pounding in her ears, as she began to panic.

Standing up, she went to the side of the brook and sat under a large tree, as the Uchiha did the same.

Blood. The poison in the senbon had two types of elements: iron, and blood, which is almost certainly poisonous by itself.

Furious, gritting her teeth until they ached, Sakura forced herself to calm down, take a breath and get herself in hand.

This type of poison can be detected with sharingan, but only because sharingan can see chakra inside the ball she made and can see that the chakra was not pure, but had mixed with poison.

Sakura clenched her fists in inexplicable anger. Whatever strength she thought she had seemed to have abandoned her. Gather a little strength. Then you can think.

It would take days before the poison would mix with her blood completely. But because she was able to extract everything from her leg, she was probably safe. Besides, that type of poison was not meant to kill instantly. It would probably take a couple of days, especially since the senbon hit her leg, and not a vital organ. In Kisame's case, he couldn't possibly die because of the enormous chakra he has, which gives him the innate ability to heal himself.

Poisonous blood.

Sakura began to wonder about it. She had only heard about poisonous blood from Tsunade before, who once explained Orochimaru's medical abilities. She once said that he was able to create various kinds of poisons and from there create cursed seals. These poisons' chief element was Orochimaru's own blood. Orochimaru's own blood was not poisonous per se, but had mutated due to various experiments. The mixture with various chemicals and life energies with the vessels he possessed created a special kind of poisonous blood. Orochimaru's mutated blood had the capacity not to kill, but to damage and destroy cells, especially those of the circulatory system. The process was slow and painful, but sure.

Color drained from her face. Sakura's leg had stopped shaking as if on cue, but her heart was pounding against her ribcage erratically. There was something odd about all this, something she was not seeing. Kabuto's words resonated in her ears.

Itachi's body is weak, and so are his chakra reserves. His circulatory system is badly damaged as well… As a medic nin you know this can't be healed with medical ninjutsu.

Sakura shuddered at the sudden realization, recalling Kisame's words as they were bickering about the senbons a while ago.

Poisoned, Itachi-san...And that guy knew what poison would affect me.

Sakura looked sideways to Itachi, who sat beside her silently, unaware of the thoughts that raged through her mind.

After defecting from Akatsuki ten years ago, it seems he hasn't forgotten about Itachi-san.

Orochimaru had poisoned Itachi.

Kabuto's words reverberated in her mind, and she now realized, belatedly, that they were pregnant with meaning.

I am a spy, Sakura. There's a difference.

Sakura suddenly felt her lungs heavy inside her, and she found it hard to breath. Some years before, when the snake wielder had the chance, he poisoned the elder Uchiha with blood that had gone undetected by Sharingan eyes, because it had no iron elements to make it noticeable. How Orochimaru was able to do it and when, the kunoichi had no idea. But one thing was sure, and she verified it a while ago: Uchiha Itachi's circulatory system was badly damaged, consistent with what Kabuto had said. The poisonous blood had already mixed thoroughly with his own.

Sakura gritted her teeth in determination.

As a medic nin you know this can't be healed with medical ninjutsu.

There was a way to heal it. And it seemed that Kabuto had been completely about one thing, because he cannot be healed with medical ninjutsu.

Kneeling beside the Uchiha, Sakura formed the seals taught to her not by the Godaime, but by one of Sunagakure's late elders Chiyo-baasama, then began channelling chakra to her hands.

Start with the vital organs.

At this point, she already had the Uchiha's attention. His face remained an inscrutable mask as he watched her guide her hands to his chest. Not long after, his eyes narrowed intently, his face rapt with attention.

"This is not medical ninjutsu," he said with measured words.

A drop of sweat made its way to her eyelids. Sakura resisted the urge to wipe it as she felt life energy flow from her. "You're terribly ill Itachi-san. Just stay put. I'll be finished in a while."

For the first time since they had stayed together, Itachi's eyes widened in something close to surprise. He laid his hands on hers, forcing her to stop her chakra flow. Sakura looked up at the Uchiha who shook his head 'no'.

"Itachi-san," Sakura burst out angrily, "I'm doing this for you. I'm helping you, all right? Because you're dying."

"And you'll die if you continue with this. This is a life transfer technique."

"I know what it is. I won't die," Sakura snapped.

Itachi was undeterred, as his hold on both her hands tightened slightly. "I am a missing nin, Sakura."

Sakura ignored his retort. "You need healing—"

"People live their lives by what they see as right and true, Sakura," the Uchiha began quietly. "You say I need healing, but this is my reality."

"No," Sakura went on, adamantly, "Death is not your reality."

Itachi regarded her with interest, without ever letting her hands go. "You're living in a dream world, Sakura."

"Damn you, Uchiha Itachi," hissed Sakura, deliberately omitting the honorific she normally attached to his name as Sasuke-kun's older brother. "I'm trying to help you, and all you tell me is I'm living in my dream world."

Itachi's brows furrowed slightly then he let her hands go. A pause, then, "why are you helping me, Sakura?"

The Uchiha was as calm as ever, infuriating the pink haired kunoichi even more. "I don't want any unnecessary deaths. Besides," she added hotly, "you're not as bad as they say you are. You had saved me a lot of times."

Itachi regarded her indifferently, but with a hint of amusement in his voice. "That is an assumption on your part, Sakura." Then he added, "You are more useful to me alive than dead."

Before she was able to stop herself, Sakura unexpectedly stood up, picked the discarded clothing from her pants, and threw it at the Uchiha.

Standing up just as quickly, Itachi caught the fabric in his hands and flung it aside.

"You are cold, Itachi," she began heatedly, "just when I think I'm seeing a different side of you, that perhaps there was a reason for all your actions, that perhaps Kabuto was wrong when he said you were simply using me to draw Sasuke-kun out, that perhaps there was something behind those inscrutable eyes of yours, a shred of humanity, then perhaps…" she broke off, panting.

Silence.

Sakura went on, "You still saved me from Kabuto. You saved me from those rogues before. You even healed me. Were those lies, Itachi?" She panted heavily, then went on, "You asked me to stay, when you could've easily killed me last night. Were you lying then?"

Itachi's face showed no trace of emotion. "Everything had simply worked for my convenience, Sakura."

Sakura had lost all self-control when the irrepressible longing to slap him finally overtook her. In a flash her left hand shot up only to meet his steel like grip. But her reflexes were in good shape. Sakura's right hand almost automatically went up after he caught her left wrist.

But he was fast, and he held both her wrists in a one grip. Sakura gritted her teeth in dismay, no longer planning a counterattack. He was too fast for her, and fatigue was setting in.

"Those cold, merciless eyes of yours…" she spat, "I had hoped to see warmth beneath them."

"You're living in a dream world if you think that every person has good in them, Sakura."

Completely drained of energy, Sakura managed a feeble smile, "I am. Because my dream world is infinitely better than your reality."

Gritting her teeth in sadness and anger at herself, Sakura mentally berated herself for showing so much pain and hurt, especially before a man like Itachi. She was a nuisance, she concluded silently, even to herself. In her younger years as a genin, there were times when she actually believed that she was not fit to be a shinobi, because she was a fool who could not follow the basic shinobi rule of concealing emotions. Now she just bared her soul before him, and she was a complete, utter fool.

"Forgive me, Sakura."

Before she had time to think, the Uchiha closed the gap between them as his mouth closed hotly over her lips. The action was so unexpected that Sakura parted her lips at once in a gasp, but she only gave the Uchiha the entrance he sought. She placed her hands on his chest at once to resist, as she groaned in protest but strength had left her. His kiss was hard, and desperate, and Sakura felt her self-control slipping away from grasp. His hand circled her waist and with his other hand he cupped her face, tunneling his fingers into her hair as he tilted her head back to receive his kiss.

Unable to think but only feel the different sensations his touch was giving her, Sakura sagged in his grip. She felt his hands find their way over her collarbone, over her shirt, down to her waist. His hands held her firmly by the waist, then moved up to her naked thigh, wandering, exploring the supple skin beneath the black shirt.

At this, Sakura was jolted awake. She broke away from him, but could not stop the tears, as well as her words, as they came.

"A-are you," she stammered slightly, tears leaking to her face, "going to rape me, Itachi?"

They stood inches apart, her chest meeting his in every rise and fall, as the Uchiha released her slowly, gently. He regarded her sobbing form silently. Sakura felt his body tense suddenly against hers.

"If it happens between us, it will not be rape, Sakura."

Sakura felt herself redden, despite herself, as she lowered her gaze. "Not this way, then, Itachi," Sakura replied evenly, meeting his gaze. "I wanted to heal you because I didn't want you to die. Not before you've forgiven yourself. I didn't want anything in return."

"I won't die so easily, Sakura," he returned, his voice dropping a register. "So don't cry just yet."

Wiping her face with the back of her hand, Sakura replied, "I'm crying because you won't. You didn't cry when you killed your family. You didn't cry when you deserted your village. And now you won't cry even when you know you're dying." Her voice hoarse with emotion, Sakura muttered, "If you won't cry, I will, for you."

Tension hung in the air and weighed her body down. Sakura felt naked, though fully clothed, as his gaze never left her, boring into the recesses of her soul. Sakura only hoped that her words would reach him, that her emotions would.

"This," Itachi leaned over and whispered to her as he wiped a tear from her face "is your weakness."

"No, Itachi," she said, her eyes never leaving his, "it is yours."


Author's notes:

THANK YOU FOR READING! drop me a review while you're at it!

To Auelle: Thank you so much for your review! i hope you liked this! :)