The ground was hard and dry as her feet stomped hard across its surface. She ran quicker and quicker, never stopping unless to look around and take off in a different direction. It felt as if she had been running in this pointless forest for ages. Each tree she passed looked the same as the last: dead, dry, and lifeless. Her heart began to pump harder as she ran faster. The only sound she could hear was her heavy breathing and the slight crackle of the dead branches as she ran by. She had no idea where she was, when she started running, or what she was running to, all she knew was that she had to keep going, no matter how long it took. She finally collapsed with her back against a tree, panting from exhaustion. The bark of the tree felt cold against her skin and started to chill her whole body. As her chest rose and fell, she wiped the cold sweat from her face as she looked to the sky above her. She didn't know what time it was but she could tell it was either dawn or dusk and she couldn't rest for long, she had to keep moving. In the pit of her stomach she knew that if she didn't find her way out of the forest something horrible was going to happen. She stood up and desperately spun around, looking in every direction for a way out of this forest. She had never before felt so utterly lost and confused. Her head began to pound as she felt tears build up in her eyes as she frantically searched for something, some sign of life, but the only thing she saw were the dead trees that began to grow thicker around her. The closer the trees got to her, the more hopeless she seemed felt. The crackling of the branches seemed to grow louder and the sky grew darker. She balled her fist in her eyes to try to stop the tears that poured out. She stopped her movements and in one last effort let out a small whisper, hoping someone would hear her plea. "Please," she said in a quiet voice, "Please, help me."
As soon as the words left her mouth, the deafening creaking of the branches ceased and she felt warmth from the sky begin to shine on her. A light breeze came in from the north and made her pink hair dance around her. She uncovered her eyes, wiped the tears from her brilliant green eyes, and faced the direction of the wind. She saw something in the distance, something small, as the wind grew stronger and stronger. She squinted, trying to identify the object, and in one last gust of wind, a small, green leaf danced widely in the wind around her before falling lightly to the ground at her feet. She bent down slowly and gently picked up the tiny leaf in her hands. While the leaf was small, she knew that it was not something insignificant, it was important. The newly appearing sun made it glow a vibrant green and she closed her fist around it and brought it to her chest. She felt a new hope filling her and she looked in the direction where the leaf came from. In the distance she could see what she was looking for this entire time as the bright green treetops came into sight. Without another thought, she ran as fast as she ever has toward the lush forest, seeing it come closer and closer to her with every step. She could feel the warm breeze coming from within the forest, she could smell the fresh grass, and she grew more and more excited the closer she came to the strong trees ahead of her. She smiled as she was mere feet away from her destination and with her last step, she felt the ground move beneath her. She looked down and saw the ground crumbling beneath her feet. The ground began to quake and eventually she lost all balance and fell down along with the piece of earth, her hands reaching for the ground of the forest. With her outreached hands, the small leaf left her palm and was taken upward, away from her fingertips. She spun widely down into the dark, the bright green leaving her sites, and landed with a thud.
Sakura sprung up violently from her bed with a gasp. Her breaths were fast and uneven and she surveyed her surroundings. She was in a small, plain room, sitting up in her bed as sunlight began to enter through the windows.
"It was only a dream," she whispered to herself as she tried to calm her breaths. Her skin felt cold and sweaty against the sheets of the bed. She flopped back onto her pillow, her hands rubbing her exhausted eyes. It had taken her hours to fall asleep and her unsettling dream had taken its toll on her as she felt just as fatigued as she had after the previous day of healing countless civilians. The pink-haired girl looked out the one window in her room to see the bright sun making its way over the horizon. She pleaded with it for a moment, asking it to settle back down on the other side of the horizon, but decided she wouldn't be able to sleep anyways, and swung her legs off the side of her bed. No matter how tired she felt, she promised to be back in the field at sunrise to resume her duties, and something told her she didn't want to get on Captain Kuya's bad side.
The kunoichi strolled across the room, her long pink nightgown dusting the wooden planks of the floor. She entered the small bathroom attached to her bedroom and approached her pack to began to strip down and suit up. After her promotion to jounin, Sakura decided it was time to upgrade her outfit, seeing as her old shirt was too tight on her chest and her skirt started to become shorter and shorter. It brought her some unwanted attention from some of the local men and name calling from the women. The kunoichi slipped on her red top that zippered to the tip of her naval, adorned with her usual white circle on the back. After, she pulled on a pair of tight black pants that went down to her knees and fastened her long, pale pink skirt around her waist that billowed out around backside. She packed a variety of medicine, medical tools, and weapons into her pouch that she kept around her waist and tied her longer pink locks into two loose ponytails. Sakura looked up to the small mirror above the sink and through the thin layer of dust that covered it, she could see her usually bright green eyes red and puffy from crying the night before. She quickly washed her face in the skin and rubbed her eyes, hoping to get rid of bags of exhaustion, but decided that it was no use and made for the door leading to the hall. The corridor was empty, light just starting to pour in through the windows. It was quiet; the only song was morning birds chirping outside. Sakura walked up slowly to the room next to hers, trying to silence the sound of her steps, and pressed her ear lightly against the door. She didn't sense anyone's presence and didn't hear any rumble of someone sleeping or any sound at all, and decided her partner must have left already.
Immediately when the thought of Lee passed her mind, Sakura felt a huge weight on her chest. How was she going to face him today? She wouldn't blame him if he never wanted to speak or see her again. She slowly strolled down the hallways and made for the foyer, not in a hurry to face her fears.
The kunoichi stepped outside of Lord Kisho's mansion, the early morning sun warming her skin. The courtyard outside the front of mansion sparkled in the light, the morning dew on the grass and flowers shining brightly. Sakura couldn't believe that just beyond the hill, death and destruction was waiting for her. The courtyard was filled with an array of brightly colored flowers, shrubs, tall trees, and stone walkways. She was just admiring the daffodils when something in her peripheral caught her eye. Sakura stepped up to a row of flowers, all with light purple petals and a dark purple stem.
"Nightshade," she whispered as she delicately touched the petals. She knew the plant very well. It was an herb that was commonly used as a sleep agent, or when combined with the correct ingredients, it could make a quick anesthetic good for surgeries. At that moment, she heard someone approach.
She turned to see Eiji, walking slowing out of the front of the mansion. "Ah, Sakura-san, I trust that you are enjoying your stay here?"
"Good morning Eiji-sama," she called back, "and yes, the mansion is beautiful."
Eiji walked down the steps from the enormous palace. "I've always considered myself lucky that I not only get to work here, but that I am allowed to live here as well."
"Really?" Sakura exclaimed, staring at the five-story tall mansion, "that is lucky."
The old, feeble man walked up to the side of the young woman. "The wife and I live right over there," he pointed to a small, quaint cottage, lying on the opposite side of the courtyard. "It's not the palace, but I still get the great view."
"It's very lovely," Sakura commented, "especially this garden. You seem to have some rare medical herbs."
"Ahh yes," Eiji bent down and admired the Nightshade, "my Lord Kisho is very fond of herbal medicine. It's kind of a hobby for him. He usually tends to all of his herbs in his greenhouse on the west side of the mansion."
"That might be helpful for me as well. I'm running low on anesthetics, but if I mixed a bit of this Nightshade with it, it would make it last longer. Would it be alright if I grabbed a couple petals?" Sakura asked.
"By all means! The green house is full of them."
Sakura plucked several flowers and stored the petals neatly in a vial in her medical pouch. "Thank you Eiji-sama, but I must be heading back into the village now. I promised Captain Kuya that I would return early and I don't think I want to disappoint him."
Eiji chuckled lightly. "I understand. Takeda can be an intimidating man, but he can be sweet once you get to know him. I was just about to head down to the village as well, I'll walk with you."
The pair started off onto the path into the village, leaving the gardens behind them. "So, where is your partner?" Eiji questioned, "I thought that you two would've been working together."
Sakura's eyes widened at the mention of Lee, but she thought of an excuse quickly. "I'm sure that he is already at the village, getting an early start." She faked a small smile.
"That boy really does have a lot of energy, doesn't he?" Eiji responded.
Sakura nodded as Eiji looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "So," he started, "if you don't mind me asking, are you two a couple?"
Sakura looked to the old man and stammered, "W-what would make you think that?"
"Well, it's just that you two looked to be very close, and I always thought that I had a good eye for things like that."
Sakura waved her hand to disregard his comment, "Well, you might want to get your eyes checked out because we're just comrades. That's it." She chuckled lightly.
"Damn. I apologize for being nosey." The old man returned her smile.
"No hard feelings." She responded as the pair came closer to the village. She exhaled slowly. She hoped that Eiji hadn't picked up on her nervousness at the mention of Lee. The thought of confronting him today left a sour feeling in her gut, and she began to wish that she had eaten something. As they walked further down the path, the air became heavier as dust from the village started to fill the atmosphere. It became thicker and heavier as they approached the hill that overlooked the village. As Sakura reached the top of the hill and looked down into the dusty, destroyed village, she began to sweat as she knew that somewhere, out in the fallen buildings, was Lee.
Sakura tried to calm herself down as she and Eiji approached the tents that lay at the base of the valley. Just as the day before, the tent was full of village guards in their dark blue uniform, busily taking or giving orders. As the two moved through the crowed, the towering stature of Captain Kuya came into their sight.
"Good morning Takeda!" Eiji called out cheerfully. The giant dark-haired man turned to meet Eiji, his cigarette lightly between his lips.
"Ahh, Eiji-sama," he took a puff from his cigarette, "good morning."
Sakura waited by the side of Eiji, noting how kind Captain Kuya was to the old man, certainly a side of the Captain that she hadn't seen yet.
"I was just wondering where Lord Kisho may be, I have some things to report from his estate." Eiji asked.
"Right," Kuya looked down at the large map that was sprawled out on a desk in front of him. "He is down by the river, helping with the reconstruction of the ports."
"Splendid," Eiji responded. "Take it easy now, Sakura." He patted Sakura on the shoulder and gave her reassuring nod as he departed from the tent.
Sakura stepped up to the desk in front of the Captain. "Haruno Sakura, reporting for duty."
The smile that had been on the Captains face disappeared as his face returned to the stern, intimidating face Sakura had known previously. "You're late," he replied shortly. Before Sakura had a chance to apologize, he gave her an order "You will be back at the medic tents today, some patients have gone into critical condition, so hurry."
Sakura nodded and before she could open her mouth to ask if Lee had reported to him this morning, the large man exited the tent as well. She sighed and worked her way through the crowd again. She exited the tent and made her way for the medic tent through the thick cloud of dust.
There is only one way to describe the feeling; death. Not just blood or dead bodies, but death. The blood, corpses, tears, pleads, and screams all combine into one familiar feeling. That's what Sakura thought as she stepped into the Medical Tent. She had been around death often, but she never quite got used to walking into a room filled with nothing but death.
As she entered the tent, she hurried over to the critical care section. She quickly put up her hair and slipped on a pair of gloves. As she approached the area, a young, tall, scrawny man dressed in a white medic uniform ran up to her.
"Oh thank Gods you're here," he exhaled with relief, "we had several patients go from a stable condition to critical last night. They are waiting over here." He pointed to a row of cots.
Sakura nodded and started to unzip her medical pouch around her waist. She grabbed the man by the arm and dragged him behind her as she made her way over to the patients. "I'm going to need your help," she said with a determined look on her face, "we are not going to lose anyone today."
"Y-Yes ma'am," the man stuttered.
Sakura knew that there wasn't much she could do about her problem with Lee at this moment, but she could help these patients, and she thought she could use that good karma.
"Sho, place your hand here please." Sakura directed the young man as the two worked to heal a civilian with a piece of rebar through his shoulder.
"Yes ma'am," he said as he diligently moved his hands.
"Sho, for the last time, just call me Sakura, not ma'am. Okay?"
"Right. Sorry Sakura," the young man blushed as Sakura smiled lightly. Sakura learned the Sho was 17 years old training to be a medic when the earthquake struck. He had mostly been working nights since. His blue eyes, though droopy with sleepiness, had an eagerness to them that seemed to glow whenever Sakura showed him a new medical technique. He had dusty blonde hair and freckles strewn across his nose.
"Okay, on the count of three, I want you to pull the rest of the rebar out." Sho nodded as Sakura checked on the patient. The older man was still out cold. The addition of the Nightshade to her anesthesia really made a difference. Her patient would now wake up less drowsy but would still be knocked out for the duration of the procedure.
"1, 2, 3!" The kunoichi counted and Sho pulled the rebar straight out. Sakura's hands flashed blue as she quickly worked to patch up the hole in his shoulder.
"Wow," Sho said under his breath as he watch the pink haired medic patch up the wound. "That's amazing ma'am!"
"Sho, you said it again."
"Oh, right. Sorry Sakura. I guess it's just because you're so intimidating."
Sakura glanced at the young medic as she wrapped a bandage around her patient. "Intimidating?"
Sho blushed even harder and started waving his hands. "That's not what I meant !" He stammered a bit, "I mean, you're just so, so…"
Sakura laughed, "Sho, it's okay. I've been called a lot worse." The blonde man sighed with relief. "And you better be prepared to get all sorts of names yelled at you. It's not easy trying to fix up people when they aren't knocked out like this. They will call you every bad name they can think off."
"Right, I'll make note of that," said Sho.
Sakura stood and stretched her arms above her head until she heard a satisfying pop in her back. "Let's take a short break, stretch out a bit. We are going to tackle the woman with the shattered hand next so we are going to be sitting there for while."
Sho nodded as he stood up and dusted off his medic uniform. Sakura walked over to the opening of the tent where the door flaps were pulled back. Through all the dust and destruction she could make out images of people running back and forth, carrying debris and some carrying people. At that moment, she wondered about Lee. Was he okay? Was he torn up about their fight last night? She knew that she was.
"I can't believe Nana is out there," Sakura heard a quiet voice behind her. She turned around to see Sho staring beyond her, out into the mess.
"Excuse me?" Sakura questioned.
Sho snapped back to reality. "O-Oh sorry. I was talking to myself," he rubbed the back of his neck. "It's just that," he paused, "I have a friend out there. A good friend."
Sakura folded her arms and a sly smile went across her face. "Oh, Nana was it? Just a good friend?"
Sho chuckled. "Yes. She is a great friend. She's smart and strong. I honestly don't know how she is working out there day after day. And when she comes back, covered in dust and blood, she is still smiling." Sho shuffled on his feet a bit, "And I guess I do like her, I just haven't really told her… yet."
A picture of Lee popped into Sakura's mind and she smiled to herself. She turned around and put a hand on Sho's shoulder. "Come on," she gestured, "Let's get back to work. Prove yourself to her."
Sho smiled and a determined smile spread across his face. "Yes, good idea."
"Let's prove ourselves to both of them." Sakura thought to herself.
As the two headed back to their patients, Sakura heard a faint rumble. A tingle went up her spine and she immediately spun around on her heels to look out the tent. She felt a strange surge of power, almost like chakra. She squinted to see civilians and guards running toward the tent as the rumble grew louder and louder.
"What's that?" Sho asked.
Sakura ran out of the tent with Sho following her. She stepped out into the panicked crowd as people frantically ran past her, shoving her out of their way. In the distance, the kunoichi could see the tips of building begin to crumble as a huge cloud of dust started to form, enveloping the town heading toward the nin. Sakura felt a subtle vibration under her feet that shook the pebbles on the ground near her. The tremors increased tenfold as the cloud of dust and collapsing buildings advanced forward. She looked down to see the ground beneath her feet start to crack and split.
"Shit," Sho cursed, "It's happening again!"
"Oh no" Sakura whispered to herself as she started hurrying into the crowd of civilians.
She called out behind her, "Sho, stay here and take care of any newly injured!" She saw the medic nod and she began sprinting into the crowd, toward the marketplace. In that instant, the only thing that was running through her mind was that Lee was somewhere out there. She needed to find him, make sure that he was okay, get him to safety. She weaved between the villagers, nearing the marketplace and she saw buildings begin to topple in the distance. Images flashed before her eyes, images of Lee being crushed by a building or being trampled by the crowd. Sakura closed her eyes, trying to force the images out of her mind. Distracted by her thoughts, she failed to avoid a charging man, who knocked her aside into a brick building. The back of her skull collided hard with the brick causing her to cry out in pain. She saw stars and fell to her knees as she felt her consciousness trying to leave her. The kunoichi shook her head, her ears ringing and the back of her head throbbing. She tried to steady her breath as she scanned her surroundings. Through her blurred vision, she saw the panicked crowd of civilians running past her, hurrying out of the marketplace. The sound of their shouts and cries was replaced by the increased rumbling of the earthquake. Sakura stood slowly, rubbing her aching head, using the building as support.
Through the rumbling, she heard a sudden cry of help. Across the street, on the far side of the marketplace, the kunoichi could barely make out the outline of a small boy running down the street. He hobbled slightly and was clutching his left leg as he dragged it behind him. None of the people in front of him seemed to notice his cries for help and kept running. His movement stopped all together once the ground beneath him gave way and he fell and skidded forward on the street. Sakura focused her vision and started taking slow steps toward the boy, only to drop to her knees again without the support of the wall. The trembling grew stronger and deafening when suddenly the large building next to the child became displaced and started shifting in its place. The foundation of the building crumbled and Sakura's eyes widened as she saw it began to topple in the direction of the boy. She quickly picked herself up and staggered off in the direction of the child, trying to quicken her pace with every step of her woozy legs. The building started falling, uprooting itself from ground as the pink-haired nin ran faster and faster. Her heart pounded in her chest as she watched the ten story building start to close in on the child.
"Please make it!" She screamed in her mind. "Please make it in time!"
As she came closer to the boy, she saw his eyes filled with fear as he threw his hands up to shield his face.
"I'm not going to make it," she thought as the falling structure came within several yards of the boy. Sakura thought quickly and slid feet first under the building up to the side of the child and halted at his side. She grabbed him under his arms and immediately tossed him out of the way of the falling building. Just as the boy landed, Sakura saw the dark shadow of the building spread over the ground around her. She turned quickly and saw that she was inches away from the side of the brick structure. The only thing that she could think to do at that moment was to clench her eyes shut and brace herself for the bone-crushing pain that was certainly coming.
In a flash, Sakura felt arms around her and wind in her hair as she heard a large crash of the building toppling to the ground close by. She opened her eyes and was face to face with a green jumpsuit. Sakura and her rescuer landed a short distance away from the building, which now lay shattered on the street, kicking up a cloud of dust. The pinkette looked down to see tattered, strong arms holding her bridal style and looked up to her savior's face to see Lee. He stared at the fallen building in disbelief and was breathing heavily. Above one of his furrowed eyebrows, a cut gushed blood that streamed down the side of his face.
"Lee!" The kunoichi exclaimed, her heart still beating incredibly fast.
The dark-haired man met Sakura's eyes and instantly had a worried look on his face.
"Sakura, I- I," he paused and bit his lip, searching for the right words to come to mind. "I am so sorry Sakura," he blurted out, startling the kunoichi. She sat in his arms with a confused look. She asked herself why the man who just saved her life would be apologizing. "I cannot believe I said those things to you, I hate myself for hurting you like that!" he continued. Sakura then realized what he was shouting about and almost laughed. She thought it was funny how a near-death experience put things into perspective.
"Please forgive me Sakura," he shouted with his head bowed.
Sakura was about to speak but the sound of a building falling and crashing behind the two cut her off.
"Lee, I don't think this is the best spot to discuss this," she said panicky as the building directly next to the pair started collapsing toward them. Lee lifted his head quickly and jumped backwards, with Sakura still in his arms, to avoid the structure. He landed lightly on the ground and as soon as he stood, the ground between his feet split apart. The crack continued down the road behind him where it disappeared underneath a building, causing it to topple into the street. Lee grasped Sakura tightly and she yelped slightly as he exploded off the ground where he used to top of the falling building as a foothold to push off of hard, flipping backwards, away from the collapsing structure. Sakura held on tightly around Lee's neck as they flipped in the air. She hated being carried and jostled like this, it made her feel like she had no control. While up in the air, the pair looked down at the village to see buildings, trees, and other structures fall and crumble in every direction. Through the thick cloud of dust that now covered the village, the shinobi could barely make out the outline of civilians running, trying to escape.
Lee landed once again, this time in the middle of a deserted alley. The rumbling of the earthquake quieted.
"Could you ever forgive me, Sakura?" he questioned once more with a hopeful tone.
"Lee, I said not now!" she scolded. "And could you please put me down now."
"Of course," he replied with an apologetic look as he set her down on the ground gently.
"I really am so sorry Sakura," he rambled as she peered around the alley. "I promise, I will never hurt you like that ever again! If I do, I will run 500 laps around Konoha, on my ha-". The medic cut him off by placing a finger on his lips.
"Lee, it's fine. I'm not angry at you, I just want to get out here."
Suddenly, the building at the end of the alley started falling, creating a domino effect as the structure next to it began collapsing as well. The pair stood frozen as the alley started to cave in on them.
"When will this end?" Lee groaned.
"Lee!" Sakura yelled, grabbing his attention. "We need to get out of here, now!"
Lee nodded and clutched the kunoichi's arm and they both started running toward the exit to the street. They were almost out of the alley when a building collapsed in front of the pair, blocking their way out. Sakura gasped and stopped in her tracks, searching for another way out of the crumbling maze. Lee spun her around, grabbed her up again in his arms and took off running at light speed in the opposite direction, turning sharply at a corner, nearly missing a falling structure. Debris started showering the two and Sakura looked over Lee's shoulder to see the buildings closing in on them. Lee picked up his pace and grasped the pinkette tighter. Ahead of him, he saw one building split into two. As one fell into the alley, it created an opening out of the alley. Through the dust and debris, Lee caught a glimpse of sunlight.
"I have got one shot at this," he thought to himself and took a deep breather as he drew Sakura closer to his body. He pushed off the ground hard and aimed for the space between the two pieces of building. He squinted through the dust and just as he thought he had cleared the buildings he heard Sakura cry out from his arms.
"Watch out!" she shouted and out of the corner of his eye, Lee saw a large wooden beam directly in his path.
"Shit," he inwardly cursed. He knew he didn't have time to move out of the way in time while in midair. He moved quickly and rotated in the air to face his back toward the beam as to shield Sakura from getting hit. He hugged her tightly as his side collided with the beam. He heard a crack and originally thought it was the beam breaking beneath his weight but suddenly grimaced as he felt pain radiating from his side. The beam had hit him in the same place he had fractured ribs from running into the tree branch a few days earlier.
The two flew from the air and hit the ground hard where they skidded to a halt, Sakura being deployed from Lee's arms. She winced as she stood and made her way slowly to where the dark-haired man was still lying. She knelt to his side and helped him as he sat up.
"Ouch," he gritted through his teeth as he grabbed his left side. "Sorry Sakura," he looked up at her, "I did not mean to drop you."
"It's okay Lee, we just need to hurry and get out of here." She bent and just as she was about to help him stand, the brick wall at the end of the alley began to fall as the others around it had. Lee looked at it with wide eyes as it started falling toward the two causing Sakura to turn around and gasp at it closed in on them. She quickly took a stance over Lee. She narrowed her eyes at the building and forced all of her available chakra into one fist. She readied herself and once the time came, she gathered her chakra to a single point on her fist and pinpointed a weak spot on the wall.
"Shannaro!" she yelled as she wielded her fist toward the building. It made contact and Sakura felt the brick shatter beneath her fist. She then immediately ducked down to cover Lee and herself with her hands as they both clenched their eyes shut. They felt debris shower over top of them and heard the wall collapse onto the ground around them with a thunderous crash.
Lee opened his eyes to find that he was just inches away from Sakura's face. As he was about to speak, he inhaled a large cloud of dust and started coughing. Through the dust Lee saw the shattered brick and wood along with the remnants of furniture and other debris. He opened his eyes fully and almost couldn't comprehend what he saw. Sakura had punched a perfect circle through the entire building and they were in the middle of it. He decided her precision must have been perfect, if not they would have been buried by the building the surrounded them.
Sakura uncovered her head and flashed Lee a small smile.
"Sakura," Lee said breathlessly, "that was amazing!" He had meant it too. He thought of the strength, chakra control, timing, and the little time she had to pull of the feat… "You are amazing," he concluded.
Sakura laughed lightly as she started dusting off her shirt. "Come on," she said, grabbing his arm, "let's get out of here." She lifted his arm and put it around her neck and place her other arm around his waist and stood him up. As she did this, Lee felt a sharp, jarring pain around his ribs. He winced and grabbed his side with he free hand.
"I know," she said soothingly, "bear with me here for a bit."
Sakura jumped out of the hole she created, carrying Lee at her side and landed softly on the ground outside. The two shinobi were startled at what they saw. The amount of damage and destruction in that area alone surpassed what they had seen when they first arrived in the village. Now, the only buildings that were visible standing were already swaying, moments away from toppling.
"Here, sit down," Sakura spoke to Lee as she set him down on the ground. "Let me heal your ribs."
"I am fine, really," Lee protested, refusing to sit down. "We need to find any villagers that are left out here."
The kunoichi rolled her eyes. "You're so stubborn," she scolded, forcing the man to sit on the ground. "You can't very well save anyone when you can barely move, can you?" She gave him a questioning, stern look.
"I guess not," he replied sheepishly.
The medic nin placed her hands on Lee's side and her hands glowed green as she started to heal him. As she did this, she noticed that her fist was bruised, cut, and bleeding from where she had punched the building.
"How did this happen again?" Lee started, looking around at all of the damage.
"I don't know," she replied, "but it seems to have stopped for now. Let's hurry up and get back to the tents in case I'm wrong." Lee nodded then cringed as Sakura placed her hands directly on his side and forced one of his ribs back into place as she healed it. "Do you think it was the aftershock of the first earthquake?" she questioned.
Lee shrugged. "I do not know. Aftershocks are unpredictable, so it could be."
Sakura shifted uneasily on her knees, deciding whether or not she should ask Lee the question that had been on her mind, even through all of the chaos.
"Did you sense anything," she hesitated, choosing her words delicately, "weird?" She looked up at Lee, hoping he would understand.
Lee furrowed his brow. "What do you mean?"
"Before the earthquake hit, I felt a surge of chakra," she frowned. It was hard to describe, and she knew Lee wasn't one for sensing chakra. "It was a small surge, but I could tell it came from a powerful source. It sent shivers up my spine." She finished as she took her hands off of Lee's side.
The dark-haired man rotated his shoulder and rubbed his side, testing Sakura's handy work. "I believe you Sakura," he started, meeting her eyes, "but this isn't a shinobi village. I don't think anyone here knows ninjustu or how to release chakra."
Sakura stood and grabbed Lee's hand to help him to his feet. "I know," she said as Lee dusted off his jumpsuit, "but that's what it felt like. Ready to head back to the tents? If Captain Kuya is there, I'm sure he will have orders for us."
Lee nodded and the pair headed toward the tents through the destruction. As they ran, Lee smiled to himself. "She is not mad at me!" He thought to himself. "I knew that those 1000 one-armed push-ups I did this morning would pay off!"