Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: Continuous (InComplete)
Word Count: 4505
Rating: M (Contains content suitable for mature teens and older)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary: She saved his life out of compassion, and he took advantage of her kind heart. Before she knew what was going on, he had bound her to him in a way she had never expected, and what scared her the most was that he was never going to let her go.
Chapter Last Revised on: 22/04/08
Hanami(花見, Hanami lit. "flower viewing") is the Japanese traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers, "flower" in this case almost always meaning cherry blossoms (桜 or 櫻, sakura), or ume blossoms (梅, ume).
-From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sakura would never understand why the gods in heaven seemed to like to make fun of her so much.
Not that her life wasn't troublesome enough as it was, but the deities just had to go and do this to her. What had she done wrong to offend them thusly? Or was her whole life just a joke to them?
It must be, for Sakura was very sure that someone up there had a very cruel sense of humor.
Why else would the Fates choose to trap her and an Akatsuki together in a deadly snowstorm, of all places?
Why Uchiha Itachi, of all people?
Not that the other Akatsuki members would be better, but why was it so coincidental that she had to be seeking shelter in the same cave as the psycho Uchiha? Granted that he was hunkered down at his end of the cave and blatantly ignoring her, but Sakura had been stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was after all, well-known that the Mangekyo Sharingan user was highly unpredictable and clearly not quite right in the head, and that Sakura should probably keep a preferable ten-mile distance away from the Uchiha. But then it wasn't as if she had a choice here, seeing that she had barely made it into the cave with all limbs intact and the cold wind and heavy snow made it literally impossible for her to go back outside; that was unless she wanted to freeze to death straightaway.
So there were only two options; either she leave the relative warmth of the cave to go back out in the snow to seek shelter elsewhere, or she try to stay low on her side of the cave and not do anything to draw the attention of the Akatsuki any further than she already had.
It was obviously winter but the snow storm had been utterly unexpected. She had been on her way back from Kirigakure after completing a mission to heal the village head there when the heavens decided to upend all the snow in the world upon her head. It had taken her nearly an hour of aimless trudging through the howling winds and blinding snow before she found this cave, and its deadly occupant. Sakura had been worried that the dark den might be occupied by a hibernating bear when she had entered cautiously, but now that she thought of it, she probably had better chances surviving against a bear than this particular Uchiha.
Sakura stared outside to the brain numbing snow storm and then back to the slightly warmer cave longingly. Inner Sakura laughed at her dilemma.
'What will you choose, Sakura?'
The pink-haired kunoichi knew just what she would choose. She loved her life too much to want to die just yet, but then again, she had always hated the cold with a vengeance. Taking a deep breath and praying inwardly to herself that she had not made the biggest mistake in her life (it was going to be a laughably short life if she did), Sakura ventured a little deeper into the cave, emerald eyes glued cautiously on the Akatsuki as she did so, watching for any movement that might indicate to her that he was going to jump up suddenly from his casually reclining position and 'Amaterasu' her to nothingness.
Uchiha Itachi did no such thing; he did not even bother to open his eyes to acknowledge her presence, something which Sakura was not sure annoyed or relieved her. The medic-nin ventured as closely to the unmoving male as she dared to before sitting herself down noiselessly by the opposite wall, her tensed back firmly pressed against the cold and hard surface and her eyes still stuck on the Akatsuki.
Sakura did not know how much time had passed with her stare fixated warily on the Uchiha, but she quickly got the gist that he was either very used to people looking at him like that or-
He wasn't breathing.
Sakura's emerald eyes widened as she edged a little closer to look at his still silhouette.
Was he dead?
In the dim light it was hard to make out anything other than his strikingly pale face and the distinct Akatsuki cloak. There was no way Sakura could tell from the distance if he was dead or merely asleep (though she highly doubted that the male could sleep through her noisy entrance earlier) and so she did the next best thing.
She swallowed hard and crept closer to the S-class missing-nin.
"Uchiha Itachi." Sakura called out warily as she stopped a meter away from him. There was no reply, no sound at all, and Sakura looked nervously at the Uchiha as she contemplated what to do next. Great, why was she always so lucky? Sakura did not need to be a genius to know that there was probably an entire black book of people who would gladly give their lives for a chance to kill an unguarded Uchiha Itachi, but she was definitely not one of them. Besides, she was more of a healer than an assassin, so where were the Konoha ANBU when you needed them, anyway?
Damn it all, this was so troublesome.
Hesitantly Sakura reached a trembling hand out to touch the Sharingan user on his upturned wrist, then pulled back just as quickly when she did so, as if expecting him to snap open his eyes and kill her for daring to touch him. Wide emerald eyes flew towards the Uchiha's face but still his eyelids remained closed; the long, dark, and almost feminine lashes fanning his aristocratic cheekbones in a breathtaking, but deathly still manner. He didn't move at all, and feeling a little more confident (albeit a little foolish) this time the petite kunoichi rested her fingers slowly on the male's icy cold wrist once more.
Having worked continuously with patients for almost seven years already, it was an instinctual act when Sakura gathered a bit of her chakra to push them into Itachi's body gently for a diagnosis of what was affecting the dangerous shinobi. Her eyes lit up with a physician's awe when she explored his body's capacity for chakra. She did not know how it was possible, but somehow he had managed to expand his ability to store nearly thrice the amount of energy compared to that of a normal shinobi. She stared at the unconscious male in front of her; what she had just discovered had only verified to her once more that this was a very powerful, and very dangerous killer.
Then Sakura frowned.
As amazing as was his capability to store enormous quantities of chakra, there were only trace amount of it left in his body. They surged up weakly to meet her own energy, and Sakura estimated that those were the bare five percent left that was keeping him alive. She slowly pulled away from him, looking down at the almost bloodless face and the barely there breathing. The pulse on his freezing wrist was feeble and fluctuating rapidly, and now that Sakura was sitting beside him she could smell the heavy metallic scent of blood emanating from his cloaked form. Wherever it was, he was losing a lot of blood and fast.
There was no denying it; Uchiha Itachi was dying.
Judging by his rapidly declining chakra levels as well as the brittle cold that was starting to envelop the cave, he had about a day at most before he succumbed to the deadly effects of hypothermia and extensive hemorrhage.
He was going to die.
'Well, that is unless you are willing to heal him.' Inner Sakura quipped at the moment.
The look on Sakura's face was priceless.
'Save him? You want me to save him?'
Her alter ego's reply was simple.
'Can you bear not to? Can you sit across him and watch him fade away? We aren't leaving here until the storm subsides, dare you watch him die?'
It was true that Sakura had killed before, and she knew that she would kill again. She understood that the taking of life was part and parcel of being a professional kunoichi but that hadn't meant that she enjoyed the process. Besides, she never had to stay behind and watch her victims die a slow death, and the notion that she was going to break that tradition just for one Uchiha Itachi did not sit well with her.
Inner Sakura snorted rudely.
'Quit making excuses, Sakura. You are a medic-nin. You are trained to tend to the injured. Sitting in front of one dying person and doing nothing is making you twitchy. You are not used to this at all, so let's just skip the token resistance part and do your job already.'
It was a good thing that there was no one in the small cave safe for Sakura and the unconscious Akatsuki. The odd look on the kunoichi's face at the moment as she argued fiercely with her inner self would have given any spectator a wrong impression.
'Are you crazy?' Sakura rebutted her alter ego defensively. 'He's a wanted S-class criminal! I would be betraying Konoha if I helped him!'
It was almost as if she was trying to convince herself not to aid the seriously wounded male, and Inner Sakura knew it.
'So you are disregarding the vow you took as a medic?' Sakura's inner self asked archly. 'Would you be so quick to ignore him if he was Sasuke?'
Sakura fumed inwardly at her alter ego for mentioning her ex-teammate. Uchiha Sasuke was a missing-nin reported to be still apprenticing under the Snake sannin Orochimaru. It had been seven years since she last saw him and heard his sincere 'Thank you', and the atrocious things that she had heard him do in the quest for power since then had saddened her greatly. Her childhood crush from so long ago had turned just as power-hungry as his ruthless brother, and it had clearly torn away his humanity.
But Inner Sakura was right, no matter how merciless and cruel Sasuke had become, the twenty-year old kunoichi would never forget the person that he had been when they were mere Genins, and would definitely do whatever it took to help him anyway she could. The bonds of Team Seven would always bind her tightly to her teammates no matter what happened, whether she wanted it or not.
Inner Sakura was right. She would be a hypocrite if she refused to lend her aid now. A life was a life, and that of the great Uchiha Itachi was no different. Besides, Sakura was pretty sure that it would definitely throw off Sasuke's groove if his brother just up and died like that.
"Kami, I'm going to betray my country just because the voice in my head is telling me to do it." Sakura muttered with soft disbelief, as her medic-trained eyes started to run over the Akatsuki's body with sharp concentration and keen observation. "I wonder if that could be used as an excuse if I ever get caught."
'Don't be foolish, no one will know, and we will never get caught.' Inner Sakura snorted once more. Sakura rolled her eyes.
'He will know, won't he?' Now certain that Itachi was in deep unconsciousness, Sakura finally lowered her guard completely to concentrate fully on the injured male before her. Briskly, she started to unbutton the Akatsuki cloak that blocked her view of the true extent of his wounds, grimacing slightly when she brushed against the wet and sticky substance that was the Uchiha's blood. The black and red color of the material hid the evidences of blood very well, but the abnormal heaviness of the cloth told Sakura without words that there were probably no less than three pints of blood on Itachi's very pretty cloak.
Sakura grimaced once more. The sheer amount of dark crimson warned her to be prepared for one grisly sight and what was going to be a lot of hard work when she peel open the cloak.
She was not disappointed at all, and hissed with shock when the full extent of injuries that the eldest Uchiha had sustained revealed themselves to her. Her eyes flew to the perfectly unmarred features of the male. She would have thought him to be in a state of uncaring repose had her observation skills not told her otherwise.
"What the hell did you do now, huh, Uchiha?" Sakura asked him softly. "Bit off more than you can chew this time?"
Predictably there was no reply and Sakura shook her head wryly. Then she refocused her attention back to the bloodied torso of the male and sighed. It was a good thing that she had seen a lot of blood and gore in her career as top medic in the Konoha hospital; if not surely she would have fainted at the raw sight of the gaping chest and hideously torn muscles.
Sakura had no idea what had happened to him, but the severity of the wounds certainly gave her the impression that Uchiha Itachi had fought single-handedly with a demon—and lost.
His chest was literally ripped to shreds, the skin and muscles that were supposed to protect his internal organs nearly nonexistent. Even without delving into his body with her chakra Sakura could see clearly from the large hole in his chest that he had at least three broken ribs, a clearly punctured lung and a badly damaged liver which was hemorrhaging extensively. She could see his heart pumping feverishly away to supply the pathetic remainder of blood in his body to his main organs, and his nearly non-existent breathing rapid and shallow.
He must have possessed the willpower of steel to have managed to drag his badly mauled self to shelter, and it made Sakura wonder vaguely if he had managed to annihilate the one who had done this to him while he was at it.
Sakura sighed loudly once more.
She had not expected his injuries to be this serious. If she had sustained a hit like his, Sakura knew that she would probably have collapsed on the spot, not stayed awake enough to find a shelter to die peacefully in. Granted that would have looked a lot more dignified than lying slumped in the mud with your intestines oozing out of you, but Sakura thought that she should consider herself lucky if she didn't wet herself with the pain. Looking down at the wound once more, the kunoichi knew that this was definitely going to take up all her chakra supply and more, and in a weather like this, she probably shouldn't even think of wasting her energy on a person whose chances of survival were less than twenty-five percent, but-
Sakura had always loved challenges.
She had once fallen in love with the most sought after, yet unattainable male in Konoha. She had to have one of the Densetsu no Sannin as her teacher. She couldn't resist throwing herself into her work, pitting her abilities against the best medics in Konoha. She had emerged from the very top of course, and just had to earn the position of head medic to prove it.
Sakura could never say no to challenges, and that was why her brilliant mind was already racing ahead of her to think and plan of everything that she was going to do to save Uchiha Itachi.
She was going to have to build a fire naturally, for the weather was turning from bad to worse and the temperature was definitely going to drop drastically. She was inwardly thankful that she had restocked her medic pack in Kirigakure; aiding the Uchiha was going to require everything in her humble bag—and more. There were the usual medication and first aid materials, bandages, antiseptic among other things, and there were also some food and dried sustenance that should last her for a couple more days. That was all the time that she could afford to stay here in; any more and shishou was going to wonder what else had been keeping her away from Konoha other than for the freak snow storm. Emerald eyes glinted with determination. Alright, she would make sure that the Uchiha would be sufficiently healed in two days' time.
Quickly slipping into a calm and professional mode, Sakura took out her kunai and easily tore apart Itachi's undershirt. Then she carefully peeled the sticky cloth off his body, taking extra care not to jostle the wound too much as she did so. Next, she picked up her kunai again and sliced his large cloak in two. Then she took the two pieces and cut them again into four even strips respectively, and quickly swabbed one of her newly fashioned cloth unsqueamishly against the raw wound on Itachi's chest.
The material was extremely absorbent, Sakura was pleased to note, and quickly soaked up the black blood that coated the surface of the injury. When Sakura had gotten as much of the tainted blood out of the way as she possibly could, she removed the cloth quickly and worked immediately on the ruptured liver. The pink-haired medic-nin gathered a wall of chakra and hovered her hands above the chest wound, then focused on surrounding her healing energy around the bleeding liver, and worked hard on maintaining her concentration as she started the painstakingly slow process of speeding up cell division that would help knit the liver together before Itachi bled out.
It took nearly two hours before the bleeding stopped completely, and by then Sakura was feeling slightly winded. However she maintained her chakra flow to his body determinedly, using them to raise his liver's temperature until it would allow the organ to resume its duty as his body's central heating system. Perspiration beaded on her brow from her efforts, but Sakura ignored them; so focused on her task was she that had anyone been present to witness her healing they would have understood immediately why she was hailed as one of the best and youngest medic-nin to grace the halls of the Konoha hospital.
Sakura breathed an inward sigh of relief when she had taken care of the ruptured liver. She had taken the liberty to raise his blood count to a healthier level too, so he probably wouldn't bleed to death now and with that his chances of survival leapt to an optimistic forty-seven percent.
"One down, three more to go." Sakura mumbled determinedly to herself as she moved her attention to the punctured lung. Concentrating her chakra with acute precision, she directed them into the jagged tears, forcing the unwanted blood and trapped air out of the lung cavity and slowly inflating the damaged organ before finally allowing oxygen to reach the oxygen-starved alveoli. The delicate process took an hour to complete as Sakura painstakingly repaired each and every alveolus that had been crushed by the collapsed lung. Then she worked her way out gradually, and once again pulled out a great amount of her energy as she hastened the cell division process that would close up the ripped portion of the lung.
Sakura estimated that she had less than a fifth of her chakra left when she was finally done with his lung, but she was inwardly pleased with herself when she could hear no more flopping sounds from his chest, and that Itachi certainly appeared like he was breathing a lot easier. He was up to sixty-six percent now. Feeling slightly nauseated, she lifted finely-trembling hands to his fractured ribs, and had to forcibly push the remaining of her energy out of her reluctant body to mend his bones. It was a good thing that bones form much faster than tissues; she had only had to multiply the calcium ions within his body and they quickly did the job, re-joining the ribs enough that they would heal completely by themselves in a week's time.
Sakura was exhausted beyond belief when she finally retrieved the pathetic remains of her energy from the Akatsuki's body. The nauseated feeling had increased to full-out vertigo, and had Sakura been able to see herself in a mirror she would have been shocked by how pale she looked at that moment. It was obvious that there was no way she could use her chakra for healing any longer. Anymore and she was going to collapse from sheer exhaustion, not that she wasn't very far away from it as it was now. Sakura shivered from the cold; she turned her head towards the entrance to see nothing but a howling white blur. As expected, the snow storm had taken a turn for the worse, and to make the day even lousier for Sakura, she suspected that she had roughly a couple hours or so before dusk descended upon them.
She had to finish up on Itachi before then, for instincts and years of training told the kunoichi that there was no way that he would survive in the blistering cold of the night with an open wound as long as her forearm. There were definitely going to be complications the next day, not to mention infection…
The thought of the deadly dangers of infection was enough to force Sakura out of her weariness. A shot of adrenaline borne from fueled determination invigorated her mind and body, and Sakura immediately thought of the next best way to close the gaping injury. The petite medic-nin reached for her pack and started to dig feverishly through it. Then she extracted a small packet, a spool of white thread as well as a bottle of alcohol-based antiseptic solution. She quickly poured the solution onto the cleanest piece of cloak/cloth that she could find and then swiped the cloth around the edges of Itachi's chest with practiced ease. Fumbling slightly, Sakura laid open the small packet next and extracted the tool that would help her close the wound; a long sterile needle that ended in a slight hook at one end. It took her multiple attempts before she could string the thread through the eye of the needle, and when she finally did so, shaking hands and all, Sakura moved towards the lower body of the Akatsuki and threw a leg across his reposed form, straddling his hips in an intimate manner that would have mortified the pink-haired female had her bare-chested 'patient' been awake.
The sudden movements made her head ache so fiercely that Sakura had to pause for a moment for it to subside, and when it faded away she leaned down very slowly and prepared to thread the first stitch. After all, it simply wouldn't do if she fainted on him halfway through.
The injury was obviously too wide for the thread to piece together straight away, so Sakura drew her knees to the sides of Itachi's chest and had to apply pressure to draw the edges of the wound together, and the toll that particular action took on her tiring body was simply unimaginable. Within fifteen minutes of maintaining that particular position, Sakura was paler than ever and perspiring from sheer fatigue. Her thigh muscles quivered and ached with the increasing buildup of lactic acid, her head felt thick and heavy, her fingers throbbed from pulling the needle through resisting flesh and muscles and she had to stop periodically because she kept seeing double. Only the encouragement from Inner Sakura and her own stubborn resolve kept the pink-haired kunoichi from giving up.
Sakura could not be anymore relieved when she finally pulled the needle out from Itachi's bloody chest for the last time and knotted the thread tightly so that the wound would not open so easily. She had honestly thought that she would have blacked out halfway through, but that wasn't the case.
'As if I would let you disgrace us like that.'
Inner Sakura huffed haughtily, and for once Sakura did not say anything to rebuke her alter ego. The only thing that took priority in her fuzzy mind at the moment was the last thing that she had to do before she could allow herself to fall unconscious. Reaching for her medic pack once more, Sakura pulled out a few rolls of bandages, and as she unrolled the white pieces of sterile cloth quickly and efficiently, she quietly thanked her taskmistress of a sensei for volunteering her for all those extra nursing duties when she was a Chuunin. Her hard work during her youth had paid off extremely well now, when she could bandage a male almost a head taller than her with no trouble whatsoever even when her strength was failing her and she was as weak as hell and just as tired. The bandages would definitely lower the risk of infection, as well as act as secondary precaution to prevent the wound from opening up again. The pink-haired kunoichi worked quickly and almost sang with relief when she finally tied the last knot of the snowy bandage.
Sakura nodded once with pure satisfaction as she surveyed her work briefly. He was breathing properly; his heart rate had returned to normal and the bleeding was almost stopped. The storm still had not let up, and the light outside had dimmed significantly to a dark grey, indicating the onset of dusk. She had fulfilled all her priorities, and had healed the Akatsuki before the arrival of sunset. It was just a little pitiful that she did not have enough energy to stay awake to feel sufficiently proud of her newest accomplishment. Quickly seeing the ring of darkness that was rapidly expanding within her vision, Sakura did one more thing that she had to do.
Gathering the last vestiges of her chakra, the kunoichi shaped them with utmost precision and quickly executed a series of clumsily performed hand signs. Then she whispered a medical jutsu, an advanced technique that only the most skillful of medics could perform due to the delicate nature of the procedure, and temporarily blocked off all the optic nerves of the Uchiha with her chakra, inadvertently binding her patient to herself provisionally. Despite knowing that the Akatsuki would definitely not be pleased when he wakes up and finds himself temporarily blind, Sakura was nonetheless a little more reassured by the modicum sense of safety this jutsu gave her.
Forgetting the fact that she was still wrapped snugly around the male's loins, Sakura blinked sleepily as she slowly allowed exhaustion to take control of her body. Feeling drowsy almost right away, the petite female sank bonelessly against the only warm surface in the small and cold cave, her cheek resting lightly against a strong beating heart, the steady beats lulling her into a deep rest.
Sakura allowed a small satisfied smile to curl on her lips as sleep began to claim her. "One hundred percent rate of recovery." The pink-haired medic-nin whispered softly, contentedly, as her eyelids began to close.
"You owe me a life debt now, Uchiha Itachi."
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
Well, finally I decided to get off my lazy ass and to revise Hanami. You guys probably know what that means, I bet.
The part about the lungs and the liver are all true, I assure you.
Brief biology lesson: The liver is our largest internal organ and in addition to being part of the digestive system, it also helps regulate our body temperature. A rupture in the liver can cause massive loss of blood, drastic loss of blood pressure and subsequently death. Also, the alveoli in our lungs are important as sites for gas exchange with blood. Without those the oxygen that we breathe in cannot reach our internal organs. Ergo, you can see that the normal functioning of both organs are very important to human survival, and that's why Sakura had to heal those first before attending to other injuries anywhere else.
Well, at least that's what I think I remember from my own biology lessons. Hope that my explanation doesn't confuse anybody, though.
And now that I read through this chapter, I realized that it's very unlikely for Sakura to heal Itachi had she come across his wounded form in canon-verse. My apologies in advance, ladies and gentlemen, for the OOC-ness of Sakura's character.
As for the jutsu that Sakura had performed to seal off all usage of Itachi's Sharingan, well, you probably guessed already that I had pulled that out of my butt. You will be right, though in my defense the existence of such a jutsu does seem possible. It's a medical technique and could only be used when the patient is willing and/or unconscious. This means that if Itachi is in full health and under normal condition, there would be no way in hell for Sakura (or anyone else, for that matter) to hit him with that jutsu unless he's willing.
And well, as for Sakura…she may be OOC in that she had chosen to heal Itachi, but she's still lucid enough to do something to safeguard her own life. Itachi is an S-class missing-nin, after all.
…you may liken the situation to a vet darting a wild lion so as to be able to heal it with no threat to his/her safety.
Yes, too much Animal Planet, I know.
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