Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Tsunade stared at Sai and Hinata. The artist had agreed to accompany the Hyugga and the unconscious Uchiha. He was to return immediately along with reinforcements.
"I simply cannot allow Uchiha Itachi in the hospital," Tsunade said.
Hinata bit her lip the color draining from her face. Itachi needed treatment desperately he was barely clinging to life as it was and the odds of his eyes being saved weren't good. She couldn't let him die like this. No person deserved such a fate regardless of what they had done.
Tsunade's brown eyes took in the pale form of the young medic nin in front of her. This girl—
"However," Hinata's eyes rose at the sound of the Hokage's voice, "Uchiha Itachi has information that would help with Konoha's security. His presence can not be known by anyone. I need you to swear that this will be kept secret from everyone else. Make that idiot Naruto promise to keep his mouth shut."
Reinforcements were needed. Tsunade felt like a fool for sending eight shinobi and expecting them to take on Uchiha Itachi and the Akatsuki. It had been Kakashi's advice that had persuaded her but—
Cautiously Tsunade looked at the files in front of her. The desperate shortage of shinobi and the sheer volume of missions had put the village in dire straits. She did, however, currently have a team that had returned that would be able to solve this problem. Distracted Tsunade barely heard the rapping on the other side of the door.
Shizune ran in out of breathe. "Tsunade-sama, the prisoner is beginning to regain consciousness and is struggling against the bonds. We can't hold him down much longer."
Tsunade ran with Hinata and Sai on her heels. The secure wing of the medical bay was surrounded by the medical group that was under Shizune's command. Each member had sworn their secrecy in this delicate matter but someone had let the dangerous nature of the situation override their thinking.
Neji Hyugga and Rock Lee were holding onto the Uchiha's arms. Gai had gripped onto the legs and Itachi's body was being held prone by Anko's snake summon. Tenten had been the person appointed to watch for the Hokage. As she was a long range weapons expert her skills would utilized if Itachi attempted escape. She came running fast towards Tsunade.
"Lady Tsunade, he just started screaming and we can't get him to stop. Neji says his chakra is dangerously depleted and Gai-sensei says that he is too strong to be held down."
Tsunade glanced over the room and she could Anko Mirashi trying to calm the Uchiha.
"Itachi-kun, really you need to stop this or else you might find yourself being tied up by more snakes."
Itachi continued to thrash against the hold of the other shinobi.
"His strength is amazing Gai-sensei."
"That it is Lee."
"I must train harder so I can be as strong."
Tenten groaned. "Part of me is hoping he'll break free to shut them up."
Tsunade glanced at the Uchiha. Something would have to be done soon. Sedating him seemed like a logical solution but she doubted she could get close enough with him thrashing like that.
The adrenaline rushing through his system must be giving him the added strength. I doubt that under normal circumstances he would be unable to get free. Most likely I would walk into a room of dead shinobi. There must be something I can do that will—
Tsunade never got a chance to finish that thought. Hinata had begun to approach the missing nin. The girl who normally shrank back into the shadows didn't seem afraid at all as she approached the bed.
"Uchiha-san," soft voice caused the room to go silent.
"Hinata-sama, get back it's too dangerous."
Hinata only ignored her cousin as she grabbed onto Itachi's clenched fist.
"Uchiha-san, it's alright."
His voice sounded croaky from lack of water.
Hinata smiled slightly. She had hoped he would remember her.
"Hai, Uchiha-san. You're in Konoha right now."
Itachi's blank eyes moved quickly but his dimmed vision was only showing him blurs. The light above him hurt his eyes and he winced from the pain. It felt as if sand and grit had moved behind his corneas causing irritation but he could do nothing.
Tsunade froze at his question. There was concern in that voice. Hinata, however, merely nodded before she explained to the Uchiha all she knew about the whereabouts of his brother. Instead of calming Itachi like she had expected the information caused him to struggle more.
Everything he had done up until now was to protect Sasuke and now the thing he feared the most had happened.
"Uchiha-san, you have to stop," Hinata said her hand never leaving his.
"I can't. Sasuke is in trouble. I can't."
"You suddenly care about your brother?" Tsunade asked the accusation in her voice echoing across the room.
The dark eyes flashed red with the sharingan allowing for Itachi's vision to clear slightly. He glared at the Hokage trying to keep his anger under control.
"I have always loved my brother. Everything I have done has been for his sake."
"You can't go though," Hinata said.
He turned the blood-red eyes towards her. She had grown much from the child he had known long ago. Her face and her eyes hadn't changed though. They still held some of the same innocence. It surprised him. She was a shinobi surely she had killed and knew of death. How had it not left a mark on her?
"Uchiha-san please, you are too weak to go after your brother. He almost killed you and your chakra levels are dangerously low. You shouldn't even be operating sharingan in this state."
"If that masked man is with Sasuke then he will be killed. I can't—"
"Naruto-kun will look after Sasuke-san. He won't let anything happen to him," she paused a moment to look him over.
He was a beginning to feel tired. His body was shutting down. He struggled to keep his sharingan on but it shut off automatically. His body hurt from the pain of the injuries Sasuke had dealt him and the amount of blood he had lost was enough to knock the average shinobi unconscious. He needed to rest and be treated soon otherwise he would be dead in the next few hours.
"You can not help now," Hinata said. "You might not live through the night. Please—
Uchiha-s—Itachi—just sleep and heal."
Sasuke needed him what if Madara-
Tsunade glanced at Hinata in wonder. This girl alone had calmed a dangerous S-rank criminal by just speaking with him and holding his hand.
Hinata checked Itachi quickly making sure that he was only asleep and had not slipped into a coma. Slowly she disengaged her hand from his.
"Alright, everyone but Shizune's team in my office now."
Neji Hyugga didn't understand what had happened. Since when did his cousin Hinata openly disobey him, her protector? He glared openly at her in the Hokage's office.
"Hinata-sama, I demand an explanation."
The Hokage's cold stare however stopped Neji from continuing his rant. Food had been brought to them by one of Tsunade's jonin guards.
"Eat quickly because we don't have time for this," Tsunade said. "The event that just happened must not be spoken about. Already Shizune is reprimanding her team for involving you all in this situation. The Council must not know that we have one of the Akatsuki in our custody. This is an S-level secret."
Tenten gulped. Her team seemed to have a knack for trouble.
"I have a mission for Team Gai. You will provide back-up to the eight-man squad. They are following Sasuke Uchiha and have been battling with the Akatsuki. The message Jiriaya sent me stated that their leader possesses the Rinnesan. It's a dangerous kekkai-genkai, the most elite of all eye jutsu. I need you to provide back-up to the Naruto's team."
"We can meet them in a matter of hours Hokage-sama," Gai said. "What is there mission objective?"
"Currently it is to bring back Uchiha Sasuke. They had planned to use Sasuke's brother as bait but the battle between the two Uchihas has already happened. Apparently there was a very strong enemy among the Akatsuki. He defended off the squads."
Tenten bit her lip. This was the mission that they were needed for. No doubt the other teams would be glad to see them.
"When do we leave?" Neji asked. He needed to speak to Hinata alone.
"You four will be leaving with Sai as soon as possible. Sai will lead you to the rendezvous point and there you will be under Naruto's orders. Kakashi is there as technical advice.
"What of Hinata-chan?" Lee asked. "Isn't she going with us?"
"Hinata, will stay here. I have another mission for her."
There was no sign of the Hokage's face.
"You are dismissed. Hyugga-san, stay here. I will give you your orders."
Neji looked at his cousin his face deceptively calm. Lee grabbed him by the arm and dragged him out of the office.
Tsunade pulled out the saki bottle and poured herself a glass.
"Hinata, I am very impressed. I know that you had to stand up to both Naruto and Sakura in regards to this and you did make the right decision. Uchiha Itachi could provide the village with useful information. You managed to keep him alive when by all rights we should be dead."
Hinata's face went red.
"However, he is dangerous and not likely to respond well. Ibiki will want to interrogate him and most likely that will lead him to die which we can't have. He needs to survive and we need his cooperation. How well do you Uchiha Itachi?"
"We were both clan heirs. Our mothers were friends and as children we knew each other very well. He used to bring me to visit his mother," Hinata answered.
Tsunade listened closely. None of those reasons explained the Uchiha's reaction to the heiress. They only gave clues of a childhood bond but bonds such as that could be broken look at her and Orochimaru. No, there was another reason. A reason that the heiress was unaware of.
"Hinata, I need you to stay near the Uchiha. You will help Shizune and me with treating his injuries."
"What about Naruto-kun and the mission? Kiba-kun and Shino-kun will worry if I don't come back."
"I'll send Sai with a letter to your teammates. The mission will continue and with Neji there they don't need another byakugan user at the moment. Right now getting information about the Akatsuki from Itachi is more important. We need to know what is going to happen."
Hinata nodded. A few days ago she would've felt miserable but Naruto had almost called her a traitor and Sakura had proven not to be who she thought she was.
"Accept this mission, Hokage-sama."
"Good. You are dismissed."
Tsunade drank more of her saki. There were too many questions surrounding what had just happened. All she knew at the current moment that Hinata Hyugga would be there key to solving the puzzle surrounding Itachi Uchiha. Whether or not the Hyugga would survive such a mission….Tsunade drank more saki.
"Kami forgive me."
To be continued….