Sorry that I take forever. For those who haven't read FOL, then like I said, updating will get hard seeing that school is a bitch.
Disclaimer: Naruto does not belong to me unfortunately.
The impact of the words hit hard and Sakura was stuck to her spot. Temari took the time to grab her bag and mindlessly shuffle through Sakura's dresser and pulled out practically all of her clothes and shove them into a bag.
"We have to move as fast as we can. We're leaving right away." The blonde said.
Sakura blinked as the words were registered in her mind. "What happened?" she asked shakily. She watched as her clothes were carelessly thrown into her traveling bag and she awaited an answer.
"There's been a breakout of an unknown disease. Tsunade-sama requested for you and a medical team to join the medics in Konoha. From what we think, this is really serious. There haven't been many reports of Konoha ninja coming around for missions which could only mean that this disease has spread rapidly. Supposedly there isn't a cure and they're working really hard trying to find one. They need help right away, so we have to leave right away." Temari explained. She zipped the bag shut. Sakura grabbed her sand headband and picked her leaf headband up. She took the bag from Temari and shoved the leaf headband inside then tied her sand hitai ate on tight.
"But…are we going to see Gaara first? Is he going to give us instructions?" she asked almost frantically as they both charged down the stairs. Temari had grabbed her own bag before they ran out of the house.
"No. Gaara has a meeting scheduled. He met with the rest of our team while I came to get you. He should be getting into the meeting right now. Many shinobi are being called together to discuss the matter with Konoha and how we're going to help." She said. The pair ran along the dark streets and down the path to the Kazekage office. Sakura held her hair back as the harsh winds of the night danced around. She narrowed her eyes to avoid getting sand in them.
"But Temari, when are we coming back?" Sakura asked. If they were going to take too long she had to talk to Gaara. She had to see him. She wanted to tell him about the baby.
"I don't know Sakura. As long as it takes to find a cure I'm guessing! That can take a long time." The blonde took note of what Sakura was saying. "Look, if you aren't able to see Gaara and tell him before we leave, why don't you have Kankuro tell him? That way you don't have to worry about it." she said.
Sakura shook her head. She saw the tall building approaching and was desperately hoping that Gaara hadn't gone into the meeting yet and was still talking with her assigned team.
"No. I can't do that. When he finds out, I want to be the one to tell him. And I want to tell him in person. I don't think it's something I can let go so easily on a piece of paper. I want to see his face when I tell him." she replied. There was no way she would miss the face. She made a note to make sure she had a camera on hand as well when she did tell him.
"It's your choice Sakura." Temari stopped her run as the pair reached the office building. The pair entered and headed in for Gaara's office.
Gaara had been trying to stall time after he had sent Temari out to retrieve Sakura. He took his time as he explained the plan and the duties of the medical ninja before him. There were six of them and when Temari and Sakura joined there would be eight all together traveling to Konoha.
He had been told twice to get into the conference room but he refused to go and said he was explaining a few things. He didn't want to go in before he got to see his wife. With Sakura leaving on this mission, she wasn't likely to return for quiet a while. A few months a best. It all depended on how fast the medics worked at finding a cure.
"Gaara-sama. Now. They need you in there. Everyone is waiting for you." Baki said from the doorway. He didn't look pleased with the Kazekage's evasive actions and Gaara sighed before standing up. He knew he couldn't abandon his responsibilities.
"Sakura and Temari should be arriving soon." He informed them. He received a few nods. He slowly walked out of the room and down the hall to the conference room.
It really had been no more than three minutes when Temari and Sakura entered the room. A frown was etched on the pink haired girls face when she noticed that the Kazekage wasn't in the room. She really had to tell him about their child. She wanted to. But if he had already gone into the meeting…there was no way she could.
"Is everyone all set?" Temari asked.
The rest of the group (which was made up of all medics) nodded their heads and headed out for the door.
"When did Gaara leave?" Sakura asked them.
"Oh, he left not long ago. Right before you two came in. Baki-san came to take him to the meeting." One girl said. She seemed awfully cheerful. Too cheerful for Sakura who merely frowned at her.
"Sakura, sorry you missed him but we have to go now. We have to arrive in your village as soon as we can so let's get going." Temari said. She took Sakura by the shoulders and pushed her along and out the door. Sakura had a horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew she had to leave and go back to her village. She only wished that Gaara could go with her.
The group had been traveling for two and a half days. They moved quickly and took short rest stops. Sakura had enough will power to move continuously, but the others had insisted on breaks.
They had finally arrived in the village and as they showed their IDs to today's guards, Sakura was already looking around at everything her eyes spotted. It felt like she hadn't been here in ages. It looked so foreign to her, yet it was so familiar. As the group entered the village, Sakura took the lead. She felt a flutter in her heart, now being back in her home village. She couldn't help but smile.
"The Hokage tower is down this way." She said, pointing out the large red building. The others nodded, looking around. They had to travel down a busy street to get to the tower, and when the got to the entrance there was someone waiting for them. Two people actually.
Sakura's face lit up and she went ahead of the group. "Ino!" she shouted. The blonde smiled, waving frantically. On her other side was Shikamaru, looking tired and bored.
The pink haired medic hugged her friend tightly, feeling as though it had been years since they even talked let alone seen each other. When they parted they held each other at arms length, observing each other closely.
"You look great!" Ino said, noting the bright look on Sakura's face.
"So do you." Sakura retorted. Ino looked up and noticed her Sand village forehead protector.
"Oh…" she gasped and touched it. Sakura figured what so was cooing over and touch the band herself.
"Strange isn't it?" she commented. Ino nodded and took Shikamaru's arm, holding it tight.
"Tsunade-sama has directed Shika in charge of showing everyone around. I got excited when I heard you where coming back, but I'm not excited about the reason." The blonde said frowning.
Sakura frowned as well, and the rest of the group surrounding her stood awkwardly around her. Temari smiled.
"Don't worry; everything will turn out just fine. Now, can you tell me where we are staying? My feet are killing me." She said in a slightly rude tone. Ino frowned in her direction.
"Follow me." She seethed and she and Shikamaru led the group into the Hokage mansion. "Tsunade-sama has prepared rooms for everyone. She said to use as many as were needed."
The team didn't have a lot of time to rest. They had time to set their things down and take a quick breath before they were escorted back out. "Tsunade-sama wanted to see you all as soon as you got in." Shikamaru informed the group. Hands shoved in his pockets, he didn't bother to rush at all as he led the way to the hospital. "And I warn you now; it is pure hell in there."
"Just how bad is it?" Sakura asked.
"It's bad." Ino said in a grave tone. "There are a lot of people who have fallen victim to this. People we know Sakura. And I don't think I can prepare you enough." The blonde didn't want to frighten her friend, but she was going to find out everything soon. And she wasn't going to be happy.
Shikamaru was right when he said that everything was pure hell. The moment you walked into the hospital all you heard was yelling. Yelling in different forms. Doctors yelling at nurses and other doctors, people yelling for assistance, patients yelling for the hell of it. This was not the hospital Sakura remembered.
"And you worked here?" One of the team members questioned. Sakura nodded dully and walked up to the front desk.
"Excuse me." She said politely. The brunette looked up, looking as though she wanted to murder a few people.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Is Tsunade-sama available? I mean, do you know where she is?" Sakura asked as nicely as she could. The girl's look made it obvious that she had no clue where the Hokage was.
"Sakura, oh thank Kami you're here." The relieved sound came from a woman who just emerged from the hallway. She smiled, her dark tired eyes now finding a bit of light as she smiled.
"Shizune." Sakura said with an air of happiness. Oh how she had missed the woman. The skittish yet firm pig-sitter and someone Sakura looked up to as an older sister. She walked over to the woman and motioned for the others to follow. "This is the Suna medic team." Sakura said, waving a hand in front of the group. Some of them smiled, some nodded in acknowledgement.
Shizune bowed to them. "Thank you all for coming. Your help will be greatly appreciated." She said. "Now if you all follow me, I'll bring you to Tsunade-sama."
As the group walked down the hallway, Ino and Shikamaru stopped outside of a door. "There's someone we're going to visit. We'll see you later Sakura." Ino said in a quiet tone and they disappeared behind the door. Sakura wasn't able to see who was in the room.
Shizune brought the group down a hallway and there, talking to one of the doctors was the Hokage herself. "Tsunade-sama." Shizune said as the doctor walked off, shaking his head while reading a chart. "They have arrived." She said and motioned behind her toward the group.
Tsunade smiled, and looked right at Sakura. "Thank you all for coming. As you can see we're in a bit of a crisis." She said, trying to add a little humor into a horrible situation. "But your help is greatly appreciated. First off, it would be best to learn more about each of you before it's decided where to place you. For today, I'll start all of you off on simple nursing duties before your positions are decided." She said. The group nodded.
"Shizune, could you take them and show them around?" Tsunade asked. The woman nodded and motioned for the group to follow her. "Sakura, you stay here with me. And you, Temari. I'm sure you're not a skilled medic, but if you ever feel that you need to help it would be greatly appreciated. For now you can go rest. Thank you for escorting everyone here." Sakura could hear how exhausted her teacher was and she felt a bad feeling in her gut.
"I'm sure I'll pop in to help from time to time. For now, I think I'm going to my room to rest." Temari said.
"Do you need someone to direct you?" Tsunade asked.
"Nah, I've got it memorized. Thank you for everything Hokage-sama." Temari bowed her head and turned to leave, leaving Sakura to walk beside Tsunade.
"I honestly didn't think it would be this bad." Sakura said. The thought that the hospital was like this was heartbreaking. All the hard work they were putting in to help everyone and finding a cure. Tsunade nodded and turned towards the bathroom and slipped inside, Sakura following behind.
"We're requiring frequent hand washing." Tsunade reported as she doused her hands in hot water.
"That's smart." Sakura said and followed her shishou's ministrations. "I have to ask, what exactly is this disease like?"
Tsunade sighed, scrubbing her hands fiercely. "As far as we can tell, the disease is a virus that attacks the immune system, making it hard for the body to fight the infection. It also takes over the bloodstream and slowly kills off red blood cells. It appears that the virus is able to live on the skin for a portion of a few days. That's how it was spread so easily. It can be contained with one touch. That's why we've advised people to wash their hands as often as they can. That's the basics that we have gathered." Tsunade concluded.
Sakura nodded, and right away was thinking of all of the medical possibilities that this could bring upon people. "So people now are…"
"Very weak." Tsunade finished, nodding gravely. The woman used a paper towel to open the door, not wanting to catch any germs from the door handle. "We've had reports of people fainting, and loosing their ability to walk because their legs are so weak. Many people were bed ridden and we had to send medics out to their homes to check on them."
Sakura's eyebrows were furrowed and she frowned. Really, she never thought it was this bad. "How long has this been going on?" she asked.
Tsunade thought for a moment, thinking back to when they first had the reports of this virus. "Nearly two months ago." She saw Sakura's astonished face. "And it just started with a couple people, then a couple became a hand full, and we've grown till we came to this." She explained and raised her arms to the hallway around them. Doctors and nurses rushing around, hospital beds in the halls because there weren't enough rooms. It was a complete disaster. "Now, I really hate to do this to you Sakura…but there are three cases you should know about."
The horrible feeling in her stomach grew worse, and Sakura had the idea that she was going to find out who was in that room that Ino and Shikamaru went into. She was silent, but simply nodded and followed Tsunade.
And it just so happens that she was right. They ended up at that same room. That room, number 67. She didn't know how to react. Tsunade magically pulled out a two pairs of gloves and handed her one. "We also require gloves when around patients." She said. Sakura nodded and slipped them on then slid the door open. This couldn't be drastic could it?
Her stomach completely dropped to the floor. She couldn't believe it. There was a girl in that hospital bed. A curtain was pulled around her bed so she was separated from the other patients. She was pale as a ghost and looked horrible. Her hair was no longer kept up in their tight neat buns, instead let down to flow over the pillow. She was awake and when the door opened, she looked over slowly, a smile spreading over her face.
"Sakura. Wow, it feels like I haven't seen you in ages."
Her heart stopped. She knew it. "Tenten." She whispered. She rushed over to the bed and looked down upon her feeble body. She had grown thin, too think for Sakura's liking. "Tenten...you…how…" she was at a loss for words.
"Hey, don't blubber over me. I'm fine Sakura; they're taking really good care of me. We'll fight this I know it." She tried to sound up to her usual vigor, but it was a weak attempt. "But first I'll need a nap. You're going to be my new nurse right? The one I have now seems grumpy. But I can't blame her, she been working really hard."
Sakura couldn't help but giggle at her friends attempt to humor her. Even when sick, Tenten could still entertain. Sakura wanted nothing more than to hug the girl but she didn't, knowing it wasn't the best idea. "I will. I'll take care of you." Sakura said quietly. Tenten smiled softly.
"That's awesome. Mind if we talk later, I'm kinda tired. Ino's been a worry wart and she wears me out." The girl said smiling before she closed her eyes. Sakura stepped back from the bed, never taking her eyes off of the girl. Then she turned and exited out the door.
Tsunade was waiting outside. "One shock down." She said to her pupil. "But there are two more to go." She felt horrible for the girl as she led them to a room only two doors down. Number 65.
This time Tsunade went in with Sakura and moved past the first bed that held a boy, pale and sleeping, who looked to be around Sakura's age. The stopped at the second bed and the Hokage signaled for Sakura to not forget to breath. Sakura nodded and took a deep breath. Then Tsunade pulled back the curtain a bit, allowing Sakura to go behind them.
This blow seemed to be the harder than the last one. Her throat went dry, her heart stopped, her stomach sank, and for a second it felt like her knees were going to buckle. And for a moment, she stopped breathing.
"No." she moaned. "No…no…Kakashi."
Her former teacher. Lying in a hospital bed. Looking pale. Looking miserable. She couldn't believe her eyes. The man who couldn't be brought down by anyone…was brought down by one small virus. He looked horrible and Sakura felt horrible.
As she approached him, she noticed he was sleeping. His hitai ate had been removed, and his eyes looked sunken in slightly. She grasped the bars surrounding the bed tightly, the only sound she heard were three different heart rate monitors.
She wanted to cry.
"Please…Kakashi you have to get better. I'm going to try my hardest to take care of you, all of you." She said quietly. "I won't let anything happened to you, I promise."
She didn't want to leave his side. For some reasons she felt completely helpless. She wanted to help all of these people, but she didn't know what she could do until she was informed on everything. She would work her ass off if it meant finding a cure. No matter…no matter how long it took.
Tsunade pulled the girl away. "One more." She whispered, knowing this one could easily break the girl. She had no way to prepare her either, but she had to know. It was best to get it over with, that's all she could do.
So they traveled down a new hallway and up a flight of stairs. Tsunade never trusted elevators, and they were a breeding ground for viruses. Once they reached the new landing, things seemed a bit calmer, if only a little. The Hokage led the girl down to room 110 and stopped.
"I can't prepare you for this one." She said sadly. Sakura nodded and slowly opened the door.
He was in the first bed. Right there in plain view. Looking just as sickly as everyone else. This time Sakura knees did buckle but she managed to stay standing. The tears formed in her eyes but she didn't let them fall.
This by far was the worst.
His dark hair, his bright green eyes, shielded by his closed eye lids, his face no longer holding it's loving smile. It was heartbreaking.
And there was a woman sitting besides his bed, hands in her lap. She turned when the door opened and smiled tiredly. "Sakura, dear."
Sakura was shaking her head, in complete disbelief. She cried softly, "Daddy."
Now, there's another chapter. I'm getting new ideas for this one. I will try my hardest to get another chapter up soon but no promises.