(Half, and then some) birthday present for Seiina13. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Erm... Don't own.
- - -
Tears sprang to Sakura's eyes as she studied the bloody, mangled form lying on the table before her.
"Sasuke-kun!" His right hand was scorched and bent at an impossible angle; blood gushed from a large cut on his forehead; there were multiple slashes from a katana; and his whole body was terrifyingly limp.
Angrily dashing away the moisture from the corners of her eyes, she steeled herself and brought her glowing green hands up to begin healing.
As she closed up the gash on his forehead in order to stem the profuse bleeding, she bit her lip in determination.
I will save him, and his hand! I refuse to allow him to be maimed!
Patience, a part of her whispered. First make sure he lives. What good is a hand if the owner is dead?
Properly chastised, she delved inside of him to try and discern the severity of his internal wounds. At the feel of an abnormally sluggish-beating heart, she started in alarm and pumped chakra into his body. Venomous profanity came to mind as he rejected her chakra.
As he began to fade away, she clenched her teeth and grasped more stubbornly onto the life that was slipping slowly but steadily through her fingers.
You're not going to die on me now, Sasuke-kun!
Working feverishly, she didn't pause until she had made sure that he was stabilized and would stay that way.
Smiling in relief, she wiped the sweat off of her forehead and turned her attention to less pressing matters, focusing especially on the mangled arm.
Finally, when all of his skin was whole and healing on its own, she sat back, landing heavily on a handily available chair behind her.
"Sasuke-kun," she whispered, reaching out and stroking his cheek. His eyes fluttered open, slightly disoriented and unfocused.
"Sa…kura?" he mumbled before leaning into her hand and smiling faintly.
"Go to sleep, Sasuke-kun," she told him gently. "You need to recover." He obeyed, and she felt herself drifting off as well.
- - -
She was quietly awakened by Tsunade, who had come into check on Sasuke and found her apprentice asleep.
Without a word, she motioned for Sakura to follow her outside to talk. Taking one last glance at Sasuke, Sakura obeyed.
"Are you all right, Sakura?" the blond Hokage asked worriedly.
Sakura stifled a yawn. "I'm fine, shishou. Sasuke-kun is perfectly fine, but he'll need to sleep for a while. No one should bother him."
Tsunade pursed her lips. "Perfectly fine – yes, I saw for myself. Sakura, you've worn yourself out to heal him completely. Go home and sleep." When Sakura opened her mouth to protest, she added sternly, "I mean it, Sakura. If I see you here again today…"
"If you wish, I will escort Haruno-san home," a dulcet, masculine voice offered. A tall shinobi in ANBU uniform stepped forward from behind Tsunade. "I came to see how my otouto was doing, but it seems that I will need to return tomorrow."
Tsunade nodded curtly. "Thank you, Itachi. Make sure my apprentice stays at him and gets some sleep, will you?"
Sasuke's brother bowed. "As you wish, Hokage-sama." Taking a hold of the weary Sakura's shoulders, he led her out of the hospital.
"How is my brother?" he asked as they walked down the road to Sakura's house.
She glanced up at him, studying his face, so like Sasuke's, and yet different. "He's completely fine now," she replied tiredly. "He won't have so much as a scar."
"Aa." Itachi's voice was unreadable, as was his face. "He is lucky to have such a skilled medic who cares so much for him."
She blushed, looking away. "It's the least that I can do for him. If I can't protect my team out on the field, at least I can heal them when they get back."
Halting, she dug in her pocket for her keys. "This is my house, Itachi-san. Thank you for walking me home."
She had expected him to leave immediately, but instead he followed her right up to her door and created a kage bunshin.
"Haruno-san, do not leave your house tonight. I will know if you do, and I will bring you back," he warned monotonously before disappearing in a puff of smoke.
Once inside the house, Sakura changed into sleepwear and went up to her room, where she pulled out a thick medical textbook and began to read.
Suddenly, the book was plucked out of her hands. Her head snapped up and she found herself glaring into the Sharingan of Uchiha Itachi.
She sighed and reached for the book, but it was held out of her grasp. "Itachi-san, please give me back my book."
Long, raven hair brushed his back gently as he turned and placed the book on Sakura's desk. "You should be resting."
"I am resting," she argued, swinging her legs over the side of her bed and onto the floor. "I was sitting in bed, reading!"
"Godaime-sama said to sleep," he countered smoothly. "Your chakra is not replenishing itself as you strain your eyes to read."
Sakura growled in frustration. "I'll sleep later," she began stubbornly, but in one swift moment he had placed her back in bed and tucked the blankets in around her, observing her with amusement in his eyes.
"Go to sleep, Haruno-san," he ordered her in a deep, commanding tone. "If you do not, I will tell the Hokage, and she will do something about it."
She rolled her eyes, scowling at him. In defeat, she turned off the lights and put her head on her pillow. "Oyasumi nasai, Itachi-san," she mumbled. "Don't forget to close the window."
"Aa. Good night, Haruno-san," he replied, smirking. Once she felt the absence of his presence, she closed her eyes and let the oblivion of sleep wash over her.
- - -
As usual, she woke with the sun and finished the reading that Itachi had interrupted the previous night. When it was time for normal shinobi to get up, she locked her door and began making her way to the hospital.
"What are you doing up so early?" Itachi's voice sounded from behind her.
He sighed as she stuck her tongue out at him childishly. "I stayed in bed all night and slept," she told him.
"Yes, nighttime is generally used for sleeping," he responded dryly.
She chuckled at his expression. "I always get up at this time," she chirped.
"Is that supposed to reassure me?" he muttered under his breath.
Sakura shrugged. "Take it however you want," she grinned. "Why are you here anyway?"
He looked down impassively at her. "I am walking with you to the hospital, Haruno-san."
"Just Sakura, please," she requested gaily, her smile widening. He reflected inwardly that she had a nice smile.
A corner of his mouth twitched. "As you wish, Sakura-san." He pushed open the door to the hospital and held it open for her courteously.
"Sakura!" Tsunade boomed as she strode across the floor to reach them. "What are you going here so early?"
The medic in question smiled innocently. "I'm sure that I don't know what you mean, shishou!"
Tsunade's mouth twisted wryly. "I'm sure you do, Sakura. What happened to staying at home, hm?"
Sakura gave her a cheeky grin. "You told me to stay at home and sleep for the night, shishou, but you never said anything about today!"
"I give up!" The older woman threw up her hands in mock surrender. "Fine, then. Uchiha's awake, and he's just finished eating. He's refusing visitors, but I think he'll see you, Itachi."
Itachi looked at her questioningly. "What about Sakura-san?"
"Ah, but he'll have to see me anyways," Sakura replied merrily, stealing a clipboard from Tsunade. "I'm his nurse, you see."
"Ah." Itachi nodded.
"Not today, you're not," Tsunade snapped, snatching the clipboard back. "Today you're going to take it easy! And Itachi, I'm sorry for putting you on a D-ranked mission, but you'll be making sure that she does."
"Of course, Hokage-sama."
"Anyway," she continued, as Sakura shot daggers at her, "come this way. He was moved out of the operating room to a more comfortable one. Uchiha, visitors for you!" She opened the door.
"I said I don't – " Sasuke stopped short as he saw who they were. "Sakura. Aniki."
Itachi nodded as Sakura mumbled a, "Ohayo, Sasuke-kun." Then she straightened up. "Are you feeling any pain?"
Sasuke shook his head. "It's fine," he announced. "I heard that you were the one who healed me. Arigato."
She chuckled. "You're welcome, Sasuke-kun. But the next time you decide to come in all bloody, try to send some warning ahead so we can get ready."
Without looking guilty at all, he muttered an apology. Still laughing lightly, she told him the she was just playing with him.
They chatted for a few hours before Sakura waved goodbye and slipped through the door.
She had just started down the hall when a strong arm wrapped itself around her waist. She squeaked.
"And where do you think you're going?" Itachi whispered in her ear.
"I'm going to go find someone to help," she declared firmly.
"No, you're not."
"Yes, I am. You can't stop me, Itachi-san!" She stomped a petite foot in emphasis, making sure to keep all chakra out of it (because the hospital truly didn't need a large, smoking crater in the middle of the hallway).
"You're not, because you're going to be having lunch with me," he told her quietly.
She stared at him, having formed the (correct) impression that it was not often that he invited people to have lunch. Then she shrugged and did an about-face.
"Fine then! Let's go, Itachi-san!" She turned and skipped out of the hospital with the Uchiha following closely behind.
Both wore tiny, matching smiles on their face.