Characters/Pairing: Haruno Sakura and Uchiha Itachi
Type: One-shot (Complete)
Word Count: 3967
Theme: LJ Community, 50-shinobi theme #10, thunderstorm
Rating: T (Contains content not suitable for children)
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto-san.
Summary: Non Massacre AU. Follow up to tossing a coin. Hell is to be stuck between a thunderstorm and Uchiha Itachi. What on earth had she done to make him antagonize her like this anyway?
Chapter Last Revised on: 29/02/08
Sakura eyed the raging thunderstorm mournfully as she stood at the lobby of the hospital. The ferocious sheets of rain smattering viciously against the ground outside the building made the kunoichi wince and the fierce wind that howled and rattled the windows violently had her looking even more miserable than ever.
It just figured that it would rain cats and dogs the very moment she completed her nightshift and could finally leave the hospital for some well deserved rest. Sakura glanced at the terrifying weather outside and then at the puny, mini-umbrella that she was holding in her hand. The quaint but mostly practical gift from Ino would definitely not stand a single chance against the rain, especially when the fierce wind was all but blowing the raindrops horizontal Sakura figured that her poor umbrella was as good as useless in the face of such a powerful force of nature.
The tired pink-haired female could only stare at the thundering storm with growing irritation. In the end, it was all going to come down to whether if she needed to get home to sleep more or if she wanted to stay dry better. With mere want versus desperate need, there really wasn't a question as to what Sakura would choose. She had been pulling three consecutive shifts since last night and was now literally drooping with exhaustion. All she wanted to do now was to crawl back to her apartment, slip into bed and cocoon herself within the warm, dry sheets and cozy, soft duvet.
The damn rain didn't look like it was going to let up anytime soon, unfortunately. To make matters worse, it seemed to be getting even heavier if possible. Sakura scowled.
Today was just not her day and as if to agree with her, a gigantic flash of lightning lit up the entire night sky for a brief moment before the loud crash of thunder followed, making Sakura jerk slightly with stunned fright.
Her scowl worsened.
Had she also mentioned that she might just be (secretly, of course) a mite scared of thunderstorms as well?
The rain was stinging her poor skin numb, Sakura thought grumpily as she walked quickly down the darkened streets of Konoha. Other than for a handful of unlucky nins who were patrolling the village most of Konoha's population were sleeping safely in their beds, warm and happily dreaming. So far Sakura had not seen a single soul; it was nearly three a.m. in the morning after all.
Not that she was in the mood to greet anyone or stand around to chitchat or anything.
Gritting her teeth, the kunoichi forged onwards down the familiar route to her apartment. Long, brisk strides compensated for her lack of running as she made rather good time on her uncompleted journey home. She was too chakra-depleted to be running anywhere and she was already drenched to the bone so the outcome would be the same whether she walked or ran anyhow. It had taken less than half a minute outside the relative shelter of the hospital for the heavy rain to douse her completely wet and she was now very cold as well, her clothes clinging heavily to her skin and her long pink hair hanging around her face in long, darkened straggles. Her sandals squished in the most distinctly uncomfortable fashion and Sakura vowed to herself that she was going to have a lengthy hot bath first thing the moment she reached home. Sleep can wait, damn it. Her freezing body just can't.
Shivering and hunching her shoulders in a futile effort to keep out the invading chill Sakura gave herself a firm inner shake and renewed her efforts at getting home. Like a good little trooper that Kakashi had always said she was the pink-haired kunoichi persevered onwards, all the way grumping about the absurd weather while she was at it. Not everybody could be as angelic as dear Hinata-chan, after all.
Eventually, the building of her apartment came into view and Sakura nearly wilted with happiness when she finally saw it. Mustering up as much enthusiasm as she could gather (which wasn't much unfortunately), the pink-haired kunoichi promptly trudged towards the enticing promise of a warm nest and maybe even some hot chocolate as determinedly as she could.
Thankfully and expectedly, there was no one in sight when she finally stepped within the shelter of her building. It was after all, still extremely early in the morning. The pink-haired female was only too relieved that none would see her currently deplorable and beyond pitiful state. Shivering violently from the chill that seemed to have permeated all the way into her bones, Sakura started to climb the flight of stairs that would lead her to the door of her apartment, her sandals squishing noisily the entire way. The kunoichi grimaced.
Sakura was so busy being disgruntled by her unfortunate circumstance that she failed completely to sense the presence waiting by her very doorway. Head bent down as she searched her pockets for her ring of keys, the pretty medic-nin did not notice anything amiss until she closed her fingers around the metallic object that she had been looking for and turned her attention back to her doorway.
It actually took her a little while to understand what she was seeing.
Almost as if he belonged there, Uchiha Itachi was standing calmly right in front of the entrance of her apartment and staring at her as if she was some odd being who had just been dropped down through the ceiling.
For a brief moment Sakura thought that the cold had gone and numbed her brain. There was just no way in hell Sasuke's older brother was standing before her very eyes in her apartment complex at nearly four a.m. in the goddamn morning.
Then he spoke, his dark eyes giving her drenched form a cursory glance before focusing back intently upon her face.
"You are wet."
Oh, and he did not just state the obvious!
"Well, that's rather apparent, isn't it?" She snapped irritably, clearly not in the mood for idle chitchat. She wasn't even going to ask what the genius heir of the prestigious Uchiha clan was doing outside her apartment stating redundant facts. She was so very exhausted and drained that she didn't even care anymore. Now if only he would just move out of the way so that she could slip safely into her home.
The tall Uchiha was hardly daunted by her prickly demeanor, unfortunately. He continued to stare at her. She frowned back with increasing impatience, and slowly her mind processed and informed her that he was in his ANBU attire and that he appeared just as drenched as she was.
It was completely unfair that he could look like he had just stepped out of a shower while reeking of masculine appeal whereas she felt about as attractive as a half-drowned rat.
Sakura could not believe that she was currently jealous over the fact that Sasuke's brother looked so much more appealing compared to herself in such a situation. The overwhelming cold must have gotten to her head after all. She was starting to hallucinate and think foolish thoughts. Sakura shook her head mentally and forced herself to focus on the matter at hand.
Or more specifically, how to get Uchiha Itachi out of her way.
In response to her outburst, the powerful ANBU Captain turned slightly to the side and presented his injured right arm to the bad-tempered female.
"I require your aid," his reply was quiet, simple but sounded nothing like a request. Far from it, the unrelenting steel hidden under the velvety texture of his rich voice was commanding and arrogant. Very typical of most Uchihas—and Hyuugas too, for the matter.
However, Sakura was just too tired to be offended by that 'I'm-better-than-you' tone that was always adopted by the greater clans.
She could only stare at the deep, bloody slash on his bicep with a sort of suspended aggravation. Then her eyes met his at last, the emerald depths almost disbelieving.
"Please do not tell me that you have been dripping blood and water all over the front of my apartment," she sounded completely agitated and grumpier than ever, but he was simply unperturbed by all her bluster.
After all, he had seen the change in her eyes as she quickly accessed the damage on his arm, and even though she appeared completely annoyed by his very presence she was also reaching towards him all the same, attention focused wholly on his injury.
Sakura had to admit that he was sporting a rather deep gash but it looked mostly uncomplicated and healing it would be a rather simple process. She frowned at him.
"You know, if you leave for the hospital for treatment now you would probably reach there before you collapse from loss of blood," she stated almost conversationally.
He ignored her pointed statement and merely continued looking at her patiently. Her frown worsened. "And who gave you my address?"
"The hospital administrators." He would not lie.
"The hospital-" Sakura broke off abruptly, looking even more irritated than before if possible. She raised incredulous eyes to his. "You just came from the hospital!"
She really didn't mean to yell, but this man was just so—unbelievable!
Unbelievably irritating, of course. Sakura's brow started to twitch uncontrollably as he nodded calmly. Calmly!
"And please pray tell why did you not seek treatment right away since you were already there?" Her voice was so saccharine sweet now that it was completely intimidating coupled with that extremely scary look on her face. Naruto would have been peeing in his pants by now, Sai would have kept his big mouth shut for once and Sasuke would have kept himself as inconspicuous as possible.
Unfortunately, Itachi was like none of her abovementioned teammates and was completely unaffected by the rising temper of the beautiful medic-nin. If anything he was increasingly fascinated with how her growing ire made her look even more attractive than ever. His impassive face revealed none of his interest, of course.
Instead, his explanation for her demanded question was a short sentence of four words.
"You were not there."
And he sounded perfectly rational of course, as if he truly believed what he was saying.
Most females would have swooned if the Uchiha Itachi had specifically requested for their help but certainly not Haruno Sakura. In fact, she was hardly flattered. The nonplussed kunoichi gaped at him like an idiot—she truly did.
Then she tried to open her mouth to say something, but promptly closed it again when she could not seem to get pass this ridiculous situation that she had somehow gotten herself into. That did not sit well with her persona for obvious reasons, and so she opened her mouth to try again.
"Look Itachi-san," Sakura tried her best to be cordial, she really did. She ended up spitting out the words through gritted teeth. "Just because I had been assigned to you that time you landed yourself in the hospital does not mean that I became your personal medic-nin from then on. Clearly, you can see that I'm off duty right now-"
"Do you need to be paid for your services?" he cut her off before she could rant some more. Sakura's frown was almost ferocious by then. Now he was making her profession sound suggestively sordid. The agitated pink-haired female almost wanted to deck the impassive male standing most irritatingly before her but damn it, his deep wound was distracting her. Damn the overwhelming protective instincts inherent to all med-nins!
She was fighting a losing battle and she knew it. He probably knew it as well. The kunoichi growled with frustration.
"No, I don't need to be paid," she grumped. She was dead tired, she was bone achingly cold, and as much as she wanted to ask if this could wait till tomorrow Sakura knew that injured people simply do not operate that way. She sighed loudly as she stared at the raven-haired male. "But you had better be ready to clean up all this blood and water on the floor after I'm done with you."
She didn't seem to notice that she had just commanded the esteemed Uchiha heir to do menial chores and he said nothing about it either. Resigning herself to her fate, Sakura stepped even closer to the unmoving ANBU and started to probe the large wound on his bicep with cold fingers to better access his injury. It was a simple but deep cut like she had diagnosed earlier. There were no traces of poison though the wound was very jagged, the flesh around it badly torn. The only thing she needed to do would be to carefully seal his injury together with her chakra, something that she could have done even in her sleep.
Taking a deep breath, Sakura reached deeply within herself as she coaxed her drying supply of chakra out to work. She was literally scraping at the bottom of the barrel when it came to her energy source but somehow Sakura managed. Her hands flared with flickering green chakra that stabled eventually as she brought them over to cover Itachi's injury.
Her face was a mask of intense concentration as she focused upon the task at hand and the Uchiha watched unobtrusively as she worked on healing him. Like last time, her chakra was warm and comforting as they entered his system and almost immediately he could feel the edges of his wound start to regenerate and close slowly together with her expert guidance.
He stared unabashedly at her as she melded more of her chakra into his system. She was such an odd individual and he could not seem to figure her out at all. Bad-tempered and prickly, she was also startlingly loyal and caring towards his brother and her other teammates as well for as far as he could see. And now after tonight, he was completely certain that behind her grumpy and fierce exterior hid a soft and gentle personality that had trouble saying 'no' to anyone who mattered.
She was such an intriguing female.
The Uchiha frowned slightly.
This situation was getting more and more out of hand.
It took a little longer than expected for Sakura to finish up on Itachi and by the time the wound was sealed to her satisfaction the kunoichi was more than a little lightheaded and what's left of her chakra immediately flickered and withdrew abruptly from the Uchiha. Her face was markedly paler than before and her eyes wide and dilated with stress and fatigue.
Sakura dropped her hands from the silently watchful male and backed up a step from him, looking more than a little dazed as she did so. Her head felt nauseously woozy and not a stranger to that type of sensation the pink-haired female was well aware of her own symptoms. She had overstepped her limits again.
She lifted her eyes to meet Itachi's.
"There, you are completely healed." Her voice was a faint whisper. Sakura prayed inwardly for the strength to at least make it into her apartment before she collapsed. Then a much more important thought occurred to her. "Remember to clean the floor; I don't want my landlady on my back again."
And she promptly pitched forward towards the Uchiha in a dead faint.
Sakura absolutely hated the sensation of waking up from chakra exhaustion. Her head pounded mercilessly, the back of her eyes felt as if somebody was continuously sticking needles into her retinas, her mouth was dry, her throat scratchy and painful and worse of all was the nausea that threatened to overwhelm her no matter how she tried to suppress it.
Unfortunately for her, there was only one way to recover from chakra exhaustion—naturally. There was no medical technique whatsoever to speed up the process and so Sakura absolutely hated it when she overworked herself. She would be incapacitated and useless for at least an entire day, sometimes more.
Reluctantly and feeling disgustingly weakened, Sakura opened her eyes. She wasn't at all surprised to see the familiar ceiling of her bedroom; she had expected that the elder Uchiha would have been at least obligated to bring her into her own home, seeing that he had been the main reason why she was in this deplorable condition in the first place. The pink-haired kunoichi tried her best not to move too much. Like a serious illness, her joints and body ached badly as her system slowly refilled her supply of chakra.
The intense thunderstorm from last night was no more and judging by the light streaming through her windows, Sakura decided that it was probably late-noon, nearing evening time. The kunoichi jolted with distress. Her next shift at the hospital was about to start soon!
Sakura struggled quickly to get up from the bed. Her body immediately protested her movements and she groaned softly. Forcibly throwing her duvet aside, the pink-haired medic-nin was about to heave herself out of bed when she made a most startling discovery.
She was only dressed in her underwear, and nothing else.
Looking down at her half-naked form, Sakura could only manage a slightly choked sound of surprise.
"You are not supposed to be awake yet."
The calm, lilting tone drew Sakura's attention to the presence standing at the doorway of her room. The kunoichi spent a good five seconds staring at Uchiha Itachi before her mind finally processed that he was still there—and staring right back at her.
A mad scramble for covers ensued, and Sakura drew her duvet all the way up to her chin.
"Please tell me that you did not undress me." Her voice was still husky from sleep but growing sharper with distress.
She was looking at him with complete outrage in her wide verdant eyes, and completely unperturbed by her growing agitation he ventured deeper into the room until he was standing at the foot of her bed.
Sakura could not help but notice that he was no longer in ANBU attire. Instead, he was now dressed completely in black. Collared black shirt, no doubt with the Uchiha clan symbol imprinted at the back, as well as black pants that accentuated narrow masculine hips and long, powerful legs. Sakura was in no mood to notice anything about his physique, however. She only decided that he must have left her house for a change of clothes before returning here again to antagonize her further.
"You were about to suffer from hypothermia," he spoke at last. "I had no choice but to remove your wet clothes."
Sakura frowned at his answer. He was right, of course, to do what he did. Damn. And believe it or not, Sakura actually trusted him enough to understand without even asking that he was not the type to take advantage of her while she had been unconscious. He was an Uchiha after all, and if anything this was also the same man whom Sasuke had always looked up to.
Besides, Sakura really didn't think that she was his type.
The kunoichi bit her lip and then looked up at him.
"…well, thanks, I guess." Sakura acknowledged grudgingly.
He inclined his head slightly.
Then she abruptly remembered her current problem. She stared at the tall, powerful Uchiha.
"Do you mind leaving my room now? I need to change so that I can leave for work."
Imagine her surprise when he shook his head at her, an intent look on his face.
"You are still low on chakra. You will not be going anywhere for today."
If anything else, Sakura absolutely hated to be told what to do. The kunoichi began to puff up with irritation.
"I can still go to work if I take things slowly!"
He was hardly intimidated by her agitation.
"Would you really?" he asked quietly instead.
Sakura opened her mouth immediately to say 'Hell yes, I would!' but before she could do so she was quick to realize that she would have been lying if she said that. She started to frown. "I would try at least," she admitted at last in a disgruntled grumble. Then she narrowed emerald eyes at him. "And why do you care what I do?"
His reply was simple.
"You helped me. I'm returning the favor."
Sakura's frown deepened at his answer. Then she shook her head at him. "Well, you don't have to feel obligated anymore," she muttered grudgingly. "You have done more than enough when you brought me back here, and I didn't expect you to do anything in the first place anyway."
His admission was so arrogant that Sakura felt herself twitch. Well, so much for modesty.
"The Hokage has been informed of your current predicament," he stated. "You will not be expected in the hospital today or tomorrow."
Sakura would not be surprised if he had been the one who had went to all the trouble just to have her stay put here. Oddly enough, she was not as furious as she should have been at his interference.
She looked suspiciously at the Uchiha.
"This is your revenge for that time in the hospital, isn't it?" she demanded in question.
She was promptly stunned when his distant onyx gaze warmed fractionally with amusement.
"Perhaps," he allowed at last. She could only stare at him.
And why the hell was she blushing now!
Sakura wanted to slap herself.
She settled for closing her eyes and biting the insides of her cheeks instead.
She was not going to turn into a fangirl just because Uchiha Itachi had smiled at her!
And it wasn't even a smile, goddamn it! He just did that thing with his eyes! Was her mental strength so feeble that she could be so easily felled by something as small as this!
Sakura growled to herself but there was no denying the shade of red on her cheeks.
"Alright, I will stay put for today and tomorrow." The pretty pink-haired female spoke quickly. "And you can go now too, Itachi-san. Don't forget to leave the keys on the coffee table and lock the door behind you when you leave."
She was certainly in an almighty hurry to get him out of her apartment but he was hardly offended by her rudeness. The look on her face told him that this normally grumpy medic-nin was currently unsettled and flustered by something, probably his presence and as much as it amused him that he was able to elicit such an interesting reaction from the petite female the Uchiha decided to stop while he was ahead.
After all, there would be next time.
"Very well." His voice was as impassive as ever and for the life of her Sakura just could not understand how on earth she could detect that minute hint of amusement in his rich tone. Sakura groaned internally for being an idiot. "I shall take my leave now."
Sakura worried her lower lip as she watched the powerful shinobi turn and start to walk out of her bedroom.
Ah…what the heck…
"Itachi-san!" she called out at last. He stopped, and the proud, dark head swiveled back to face her. "Erm…thanks again."
He looked at her for a long time.
And this time, he really smiled. It was more of a small smirk than anything else really, but that smallest tilt of his lips completely stole Sakura's breath away. She could only stare at him, her eyes wide.
"You are welcome, Sakura."
And all Sakura could think of at the moment was that she really was a bloody big idiot—and that she never should have opened her big mouth.
Questions That I Would Like To Answer Before You Ask:
You will notice that this Sakura is a little different from the norm in the way that she is a lot grumpier i.e. more Inner Sakura-esque. I like her more like this actually, all sharp and snarky and mouthy.
I hope that this fic pleases you people out there, at least temporarily. There have been quite a few demands for this sequel to 'tossing a coin' and so I'm glad to announce that I'm probably going to write one more after this.
One last thing.
To Caroline Giani: I'm really flattered that you wish to translate my fics to Portuguese and I had wanted to contact you about it actually. I tried to PM you back but you seemed to have deactivated that feature. I couldn't reach you at all, but if you are reading this perhaps you can send me your email address and maybe we can discuss more about your request.
Your reviews fuel my passion for writing. So please leave a comment if you like this fic, thank you.