Title: tossing a coin
Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: One-shot (Complete)
Word Count: 3527
Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #03, tossing a coin
Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary: Non-massacre AU. Sakura goes to work one day and has to deal with a most unexpected patient.
Chapter Last Revised on: 31/12/07
Sakura was most bewildered when she saw the group of giggling medic-nins gathered about the nurse station with nothing better to do. The young females were whispering covertly to themselves and seemed to be jostling and fighting over something.
Curious, the twenty-year old female went over to see what was going on.
"Why are all of you fighting over a file?"
The five medic-nins looked up at her question, all startled.
"Haruno-sempai!" They greeted the young head medic, guilty looks printed on their face. The pink-haired kunoichi frowned slightly.
"What is going on?"
Yumi, the gossip of the group, immediately lit up. She sidled over to her superior.
"Haruno-sempai, don't you know?" The young woman exclaimed excitedly. "Uchiha-sama has been brought into the hospital late last night! He was badly injured on a mission and Shizune-sempai had to exhaust her entire chakra supply just to heal him."
Sakura was not aware of course; last night had been her day off for the week and she had just returned to the hospital but minutes ago. Still, the pink-haired female was immediately alarmed.
Sasuke was injured in a mission?! Then she frowned. That was impossible. Team Seven had spent the day together yesterday, doing some light training and generally enjoying their time with each other. She eyed the young medics dryly.
"Just which Uchiha are we talking about here? There are after all, so many of them." Despite her question, Sakura was beginning to have an inkling just who was making the girls so excited.
The medics giggled.
"Itachi-sama, of course!!"
A small smile quirked on pink lips. Bingo.
"I should have guessed."
The girls blushed prettily and proceeded to fight over the file once more, presumably Itachi's.
"Why don't we decide by tossing a coin?!"
"That's a good idea!"
"Where's the coin?"
"What's your call?"
Before this ridiculousness could get any further, Sakura promptly plucked the file from Yumi's fingers, much to the protests of the females. Sakura shook her head at them. "You lot should show more professionalism." The pretty pink-haired female chided lightly. "Itachi-san is a patient; you should treat him only as such. I think that he would be most uncomfortable if you lot kept ogling and fighting over him like he was some piece of meat."
Eyeing all of them sternly until they fidgeted uncomfortably and looked away, Sakura announced. "I will handle his case."
The protests were immediate.
"But Haruno-sempai! You already have Sasuke-sama! This is unfair!"
The pink-haired female merely rolled her eyes with exasperation. Sasuke-sama indeed. If she ever addressed the younger Uchiha with the honorific his fanclub used for him he was definitely going to get a bigger head than he already had.
"Sasuke is only my teammate, just like Naruto and Sai." The pink-haired kunoichi retorted as she started to flip through the file to access Itachi's condition. "And I'm not interested in Itachi-san either, so you can quit worrying that I would be stalking him around in the hospital and drooling over him whenever I get the chance. So go on, ladies. Resume your duties and quit lingering around doing nothing here. Itachi-san is not the only patient in the hospital; there are others who require our aid as well."
There was much grumbling and whining among the younger Chuunins, but their Jounin superior was simply unmoved by all their antics and very soon the entire lot dispersed. Sakura shook her head slightly.
It was a phase that they would all grow out of. The beautiful kunoichi clearly remembered a time when she had been all starry-eyed and dreamy over her raven-haired teammate as well. Then Sasuke-baka just had to go and open his mouth and as they say, the rest was history. Smiling slightly to herself as she remembered the surprised look on Sasuke's face when her twelve-year old self had went over and thumped him for belittling her like he had, the pink-haired female started to make her way towards the room of his older brother.
As expected, Itachi-san's room was located in the more expensive section of the ward. He was heir to the prestigious Uchiha clan, after all.
Walking the remaining steps to the closed door, Sakura knocked gently before entering the room. Her patient was probably still unconscious from the sedatives but the pink-haired kunoichi had learnt never to creep up unexpectedly on powerful shinobis all the same. Most tend to be very paranoid and do not react well to surprises. It was also out of sheer politeness that she had done so; despite the fact that she had been teammates with Sasuke for almost eight years already Sakura could count on one hand the number of times she had seen his distant, insanely strong brother.
It was most rare that the elder Uchiha would be admitted to the hospital, though. He was startlingly reclusive and was evidently intelligent enough to teach himself advanced healing techniques just by reading from the scrolls. Apparently, he was the Captain and medic of his ANBU squad and would normally self-heal any injuries that he or his teammates had sustained in an assignment. The fact that he was actually hospitalized this time made Sakura mildly worried. Even though she hardly knew the older Jounin, he was still Sasuke's brother after all and that gave her cause for concern. Of course Sasuke was adamant in treating his aniki like a rival all the time but the pink-haired female knew that her teammate was going to be worried when he learns of his brother's hospitalization no matter how hard he tries to hide it.
If there was anyone suffering from a serious case of hero worship, thy name would be Uchiha Sasuke.
Emerald eyes glinting with gentle humor at the thought, Sakura proceeded to step quietly into the darkened room. She closed the door soundlessly behind her before turning her attention to the large space. The entire place was stark and empty; surprisingly devoid of 'get well soon' cards, flowers, fruit baskets and other related paraphernalia. A small frown gathered on Sakura's face before she shrugged it away. It was still very early in the morning; his family and other well-wishers had probably not visited yet.
Treading soundlessly towards the bed at the other end of the room, Sakura perused the file in her hands again. Apparently he had been poisoned, hit by several senbons coated with a severe paralyzing chemical, impaled through the chest by a pair of jagged, poison-coated kodachis, and as a result had suffered from severe internal hemorrhage as well as several broken ribs. Shizune had noted that due to the interference caused by the highly toxic poison his heart had stopped twice during the surgery and his blood pressure had bottomed out no less than four times. Blood transfusion had been needed to replenish his dwindling supply and the more Sakura read about the report the more grim she looked.
Just what the hell had he been fighting out there?
By the time she finished reading through all the pertinent information she was highly agitated. The kunoichi had reached Itachi's bedside by then and had been standing there for quite some time already. Sakura closed the file sharply and scowled down upon the Uchiha.
She wasn't surprised to find him conscious and staring calmly at her.
"Why are you awake already?" The beautiful medic demanded before she could control herself. The powerful shinobi under her charge eyed her oddly.
"Medic." He acknowledged at last, his soft tenor slightly husky from lack of hydration but detachedly polite as usual. He didn't seem to recognize her as Sasuke's teammate, and she wasn't in the mood to introduce herself properly either. "Please draw up the necessary papers for my immediate discharge."
Sakura identified his type almost immediately. She mentally labeled him Problem Patient No. 568. And you guessed it, the past five hundred and sixty seven others were all shinobis as well. Even the most difficult of civilian patients don't give half as much trouble as ninjas do, and therefore a different kind of handling was required. Sakura quickly switched mental gears and techniques. The trick would be to keep him off balance until she got everything she needed from him, and fortunately Sakura knew just the way to do it.
There would be no playing nice with her newest charge; give him an inch and he would probably be running all over her before she could even blink.
Even though Itachi had added the 'please' in front of his sentence it was very obvious to Sakura that this was not a request. The steely command hidden beneath his gentle, lilting tone made her frown harder. She stared at him with disbelief, then looked blatantly down at his unclothed, crimson stained bandaged swathed chest before staring back up into his face as if he was an idiot.
"Are you an idiot?" She asked him in a deceptively pleasant manner. "Do you really think that you would be allowed to leave in this condition?"
Immediately, he frowned in response to her rude reply. It was as if he had no idea how to react to her. Sakura really didn't care one way or another. She was put here to heal him, not become his best friend. Undaunted by the emotionless male who was staring at her as if she was some alien who had just dropped down from the sky, the kunoichi set down her file on the nearby table and started to pour a glass of water for him.
"Drink this." She ordered briskly as she all but shoved the glass at him. "You have lost a lot of blood and need to get hydrated again. Can you manage the cup yourself or do I have to feed you?"
Onyx eyes narrowed at her ornery tone but Itachi accepted the water all the same.
"That will not be necessary." His voice was slightly clipped but it was of no concern to Sakura.
"Drink slowly." Came the kunoichi's next command. "If you throw up I'm not cleaning up after you."
He had never met a medic like her before. Most would fawn and act overly familiar with him but she behaved like she could not wait to be done with him as soon as possible. Despite his normally impassive demeanor, her seemingly short temper and snappy remarks were starting to irritate him as well.
He promptly ignored her and concentrated on filling his parched mouth with the cool water that she had provided him instead. Brilliant emerald eyes watched closely as he drank, subtly monitoring his hand-eye coordination and the muscular reaction of his injured arm with inward satisfaction when all seemed normal.
He drained the entire glass of its contents slowly and when he was done she swiftly relieved him of the glass, placing it on the table instead. The she started to reach for him.
He stiffened imperceptibly.
"There is no need for a physical exam." His reply was a tad sharper than normal. "It was already completed by Shizune-san."
Most seasoned shinobis did not like to be touched unless absolutely necessary. They were understandably skittish of any uninitiated contact and the male before her was no exception.
"Do not worry, Uchiha-san." Sakura addressed him for the first time. Since she had never spoken to the elder Uchiha before, it was only polite to address him by his surname. "There will be no extensive physical exam but I will need to access your heart rate, rate of healing as well as your ribs. I will also need to change your bandages. If you cooperate we will be done before you even know it."
She switched so quickly from her earlier bad-tempered tone to a strictly professional manner that he frowned slightly in response. However, he did not resist when she started to tug down his blanket to reveal his bandage-clad torso. She removed the stained bandages from him quickly with the ease of practice and experience. True to her word, she was completely professional in her examination of him. Her hands were no-nonsense and confident as they started to prod his chest and the immediate areas around his wounds for signs of abnormality and infection. Then they flared with chakra as she delved within him to ascertain his healing as well as his pulse rate. Her energy was startlingly warm and comforting as they probed his gently and he had never felt anything like it before. He stared at her profile but she didn't seem to notice; so intent was she on what she was doing.
He relaxed slightly despite himself.
It didn't take long before Sakura decided for herself that his healing was going at a rather accelerated rate, which was good. She slowly withdrew her chakra from his body, and then proceeded to remove some bandages from the supplies cupboard nearby and quickly rewrapped his injuries once more. Once that was done, she pulled blanket back over him and grabbed her file from the table. Pulling a pen from her pocket, she started to write down her observations.
"Is there anywhere else that is discomforting you, Uchiha-san?" She asked in a mildly preoccupied manner as she scribbled furiously on the file. He stared at her.
"Good." Sakura slipped the file shut after she finished penning the last sentence. "There is still a slight danger of infection. You will need to stay for observation for the next three days at least, and if all goes well you may be discharged from the hospital then."
Understandably, he was not pleased with her verdict.
"I would like to leave now." He announced as if he did not hear what she had just said. "I am more than capable of looking after myself."
In response to his insinuation that he knew better than herself, Sakura merely pasted a vague smile on her face. "I'm sure. However, you can look after yourself here. And I will check in periodically to make sure that you are doing it just right."
Onyx eyes narrowed but Sakura was simply not giving way. Tucking the file resolutely under her arm she started to move away from his bedside. "I suggest you rest now, Uchiha-san. Your visitors will probably start to come in after ten later."
Without waiting for him say another word, the pink-haired kunoichi started to leave the room. All her previous experiences with Sasuke were coming in handy when dealing with his equally mulish elder brother.
"And by the way," Sakura paused at the threshold. "I hope that you will be mature about this and not sneak off like Kakashi-sempai always does. I would hate to inform Tsunade-sama to take your team off duty for an entire month just because their Captain was being insubordinate."
Shisui could not help himself. He burst into laughter at his best friend's monotonous recital of his encounter with the aggressive medic.
"You mean you didn't even get a word in edgewise?" The older nin asked, incredulous.
His younger cousin gave him a blank look.
"She threatened me with Hokage-sama."
Itachi sounded like he could not understand how it happened. Shisui started to laugh again. The younger Uchiha shot him a mildly irritated stare.
The member of the Konoha Military Police Force was undaunted. He smirked.
"She sounds like a rather interesting female to me."
Itachi frowned slightly at that. Before he could say anything else the object of their discussion popped her head into the room.
"Uchiha-san, it's time to change your bandages agai- Oh!!"
The ANBU Captain watched as her eyes widened with surprise at his friend's presence.
"Shisui-san!" The pink-haired beauty moved deeper into the room. "You are here to visit Uchiha-san?"
Shisui's eyes brightened at the sight of the kunoichi. "Aa, Sakura-chan!" The older male greeted with such familiarity that Itachi could only stare. "You must be Itachi's medic. I have never heard him speak so much about anyone before."
Sakura raised a delicate pink brow. "Is that so?" she eyed the quiet ANBU with obvious amusement. The complete turnabout of her behavior now compared to earlier that morning was simply astounding. Itachi stared and frowned slightly. "They are nothing too bad, I hope."
"Not really, Sakura-chan. I think you…surprised him, that's all."
A smile quirked on her lips, and it made her look even prettier than ever.
"I'm sure I did." The petal-haired medic retorted dryly. "Sasuke was most stunned when he came across me as well."
The frown that was gathering on Itachi's face deepened. She knew his younger brother as well? Just how many Uchihas did she know? And why was he not aware of her until today?
Shisui could not help but snicker slightly when he recalled Sasuke's complains.
"I think that he never expected to be decked by a female on his first day as a Genin."
Sakura snorted softly. "He deserved it for being so arrogant. Somebody had to take him down a notch or ten sooner or later."
Their banter was so easy and familiar that his eyes narrowed.
"Medic." He interrupted coolly before Shisui could phrase his next reply. "You are supposed to change my bandage, are you not?"
The less than subtle reminder made Sakura stare at him oddly. Shisui merely eyed his irritated friend with deep speculation. Then he started to grin like a maniac.
"Alright, alright. Itachi's getting grumpy." The older male teased lightly. "I will take my leave now so that the both of you can do whatever you want."
Sakura turned bright pink at the insinuation.
And the fleet footed male disappeared out of the room. He wasn't named Shisui of the Body Flicker for nothing.
Sakura frowned at the placid-looking Uchiha on the bed. Without a word, the kunoichi started to unwrap the dirty bandages off of his body. He stared at her with a mild air of concentration the entire while, inwardly trying to figure out why she was so different from the rest.
"I'm glad you decided to stay put." Sakura remarked calmly after awhile of silence. "Your wounds look slightly better already, Uchiha-san."
Itachi continued to observe the petite female as she took out a roll of fresh bandages and proceeded to cover his injuries once more.
"With luck you can leave in two days' time."
"My name is Itachi."
For some reason the fact that she could speak so familiarly with Shisui and not him did not sit well with him at all. In typical Uchiha fashion he immediately sought to rectify the situation.
She eyed him curiously.
"I'm quite aware of who you are, Uchiha-san. Sasuke speaks often about you." A small smile lit up her features in a way that made him frown once more. The fact that her expression was an indirect cause of his brother made him distinctly irritated. "Not all are good things of course. But not all bad either."
"What's your relationship with my younger brother?" He asked immediately. He wasn't aware that Sasuke was in such a close relationship with a female.
She looked at him with mild amusement dancing in her verdant eyes.
"We are teammates."
It figured. After a particularly harrowing incident involving a mob of fangirls, bathing and underwear, Sasuke was probably too busy being wary of the opposite sex to be interested in any sort of relationships.
The rest of the session was passed in silence, and very soon it was time for Sakura to make her rounds.
"I will see you later in the afternoon, Uchiha-san-"
"Use my name, Sakura-san."
It was dangerously close to a command and for a brief moment her eyes narrowed slightly. Then she sighed and relented. He was the one lying on the hospital bed after all, and since he had cooperated with her mostly she figured she could make some concessions for him as well.
"Alright, Itachi-san. I will see you later."
He only nodded, pleased enough that he had gotten his way in the end. The look in his eyes must have revealed to her his thoughts about the matter for she looked exasperatedly at him. This was such typical Uchiha behavior. He was not as irritatingly blatant as his younger brother of course, but they always do love to win.
"I'm not always going to be this agreeable, Itachi-san." She warned lightly.
Onyx met emerald.
"I'm well aware of that." His reply was unexpectedly dry and for a short moment she searched his face briefly, as if not entirely sure if he was joking or not. Then she shook her head slightly, a reluctant smile on her face. He was immediately fascinated by how the small tilt on her lips could light up her entire countenance.
"Rest, Itachi-san." She reminded softly after a few seconds of silence, voice rich with gentle amusement. "I will be back later to see how you are doing."
With that said, she walked out of his room and closed the door quietly behind her. He eyed the closed door with mild interest before following her suggestion and closing his eyes.
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad staying in the hospital after all.
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
Non-massacre AU is very addictive to write, as I'm starting to discover. In fact, I'm happily penning a few more non-massacre fics right now, even as I speak.
I know that Sakura's character here is slightly different compared to in canon-verse but I really believe that she would not have been all that enamored of Sasuke if he wasn't so angsty and bad-boyish and all, which he probably would not be in the non-massacre-verse. At least not as much as he was in canon-verse, that's for sure. I liked how she turned out in this one-shot though, all aggressive and confident when there's a job for her to do.
And before I forget, Happy New Year, everyone!
Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.