I do not own Naruto

Epilogue

Ten years later

Sasuke crouched in an alley way, back against the brick wall of the building he was using to keep his cover. He cocked his gun and narrowed his eyes in the darkness of the night, watching for any sign of his partner. His fellow officers were placed around him in strategic positions. Shikamaru had planned everything out to the tee, there would be no room for error, this sting had been planned out for months and Sasuke was just about ready explode with adrenalin. The clouds overhead were heavy with rain and he could smell the lightening, adding to the energy already coursing through his veins.

There was a screech of tires on pavement and the roar of an engine began to get louder as the vehicles approached. Sasuke heard the crackle of his radio.

"Something's wrong." Shikamaru growled. "Karin, are you there? Over."

"They knew it was us!" A gruff, female voice answered. "You have to get out of there!" She sounded winded and panicked and Sasuke cursed as gun shots were fired. He moved from his position as Shikamaru began barking out orders over the airwaves.

This wasn't the first time these drug traffickers had suddenly turned the tables on them. His father was at his wits end when it came to trying to bring them down, they being the main source of crime in the city of Konoha. He wasn't too surprised this happened, but he couldn't help feeling a bit disappointed. There had always been that small hope that this time would be it.

Sasuke found one of the other officers, Sai, and began working with him to try and push those criminals into submission by mere force, now that their strategy had failed them.

The last thing he remembered seeing was a man in a dark coat rush at them and suddenly, there was a searing pain at his left side. He grunted and fell down to his knees. Sasuke felt the warmth of blood on his skin and his vision began to blur as his hemorrhaging increased because of his palpitating heart.

"Sasuke-san." Sai called in his eerily calm voice. Chaos ensued and Sasuke tried to get back up, to push through the pain to help his comrades continue with their offense. But his body could not handle it.

The last thing he remembered was his partner rushing towards him before his face hit pavement


"It's not fair." Ino huffed. Stabbing at her cup of jell-o.

"Ino calm down. I'm sure Orochimaru-sama has too much going on in his life to remember everyone's name at the hospital." Sakura said, stirring her cup of coffee.

"That's easy for you to say forehead, he knows your name. I've been working here longer than the two of you guys and I'm still just 'Yamanaka' or 'blondie' or even worse 'tits'. What the hell kind of employer calls his employee 'tits'? While he's calling me that he's chasing you down the hall calling 'Sakura-chan, Sakura-chan, let's go visit this patient together.' Gah!"

"Maybe it's because you're just a nurse?" Ino snapped her head up and look at Sakura.

"And what does that have to do with anything? I'm one of the best nurses in this whole hospital, I'll have you know!"

Hinata scribbled some notes on the file before her, ignoring the two women because, well she had heard this very same discussion countless times before. She did not mean to be rude but she had more important things to take up her mind at the moment. The two women did not dwell on the topic long.

"So you're working in the E.R. tonight?" Sakura nodded.

"It's only for tonight though, I'm covering for one of the doctors who broke his leg last night in a bicycle accident. I'm a little excited for some action but everyone else told me not to get my hopes up, this town being so sleepy and all. With my luck it'll either be really boring and slow or really hectic and fast."

Sakura could not have begun to imagine what happened that evening.

She had been chatting with the parent of an infant whose temperature suddenly spiked when the ambulance was heard pull up. Nurses took flight while paramedics rushed in with a stretcher, blood drenched sheets visible from where Sakura stood. She excused herself and walked over, grabbing gloves and mask as she went.

Green eyes widened when she finally reached the gurney where she found a familiar head of dark messy hair.

"Sasuke."

"Doctor, do you know this man?" One of the nurses spoke. Sakura began work.

"I do. We need to extract the bullet and get him patched up." She spoke evenly, flushing Sasuke's wound with saline as she spoke. The nurse furrowed her brow.

"Haruno-sama, wouldn't you think it better if I called someone else to work on him then?"

"There's no time! Now don't just stand there, help me!" Sakura snapped. The nurse bowed her head and they continued on.

Sakura flushed the wound, pushing away the fact that she knew the man whose blood was staining her gloved hands at the moment. After many years of medical training, she knew what her job was and she had to keep focused. The staff worked around her relentlessly, and, in time, Sasuke was stabilized.

Sakura excused herself from the room after she had assured herself the nurses would take care of her old friend. As she peeled off bloodied gloves and washed up, memories of the past flooded her mind.

The last time she had seen Sasuke face to face was at their high school graduation. The atmosphere had been tense and he hadn't stuck around much to celebrate with their classmates. Most of their peers had turned their backs on him after the break-up since neither of them had ever disclosed the reason behind it. All they knew was what they saw in front of them and what they saw was an indifferent Sasuke and a tearful Hinata.

Sakura had not known the story until one late night shift at the hospital she and Hinata were doing their residency at. Hinata had confided to her pink haired friend about how her father had taken Sasuke aside that distant Sunday morning and how Sasuke felt the need to agree with him.

'I regret not speaking my mind then… for not fighting their decision for me. I was so young and weak and… It is the only thing in the past that my mind keeps going back on and thinking 'What could I have changed?'"

Sakura pulled her hair out of her face and hardened herself. A nurse walked down the hall.

"Excuse, would you happen to know where I could find Hyuuga-sama?"


Hinata wrote some notes on a chart and smiled up at the elderly woman who sat before her.

"Everything looks normal. Your heart is showing improvement after the procedure. Just take it easy and hopefully, by tomorrow, I'll feel confident in allowing you to release you so you can go home with your husband." The woman smiled in response.

"Thank you doctor." There was a knock at the door. Hinata turned to see Sakura poke her head in to the room, her smile in place for the patent in the room but her eyes betrayed her.

"Excuse me. Hinata-chan, I need a word." Hinata bowed herself out of the room and followed Sakura a little ways down the hall. Her friend's face immediately turned serious. Hinata furrowed her brows.

"What's wrong? Is someone hurt?" Sakura licked her lips.

"Well, yes. I just thought you would like to know that Sasuke showed up to the E.R. a little while ago with a bullet wound. I've stabilized him but… Well I just thought you'd like to know." Sakura turned on her heel and headed back in the direction of the emergency room.

"H-hai…" Hinata whispered eyes downcast. She bit her lip.

This was the first time she had heard Sasuke's name being spoken in a long time, though it was not the first time she had thought of him. He was like the ghost that enjoyed haunting the depths of her mind, often showing up at the most inopportune times. She had heard from Naruto about his graduating at the top of his class at the police academy. She knew he was often in the line of danger with the growing crime rates in their small town.

Hinata felt silly for not having been able to foresee his somehow ending at her hospital.

'I should have relocated when I had the chance.'


Sasuke awoke to a throbbing pain at his side and the groggy feel of being on heavy pain medication. He heard his mother cry out when she realized he was waking up. She was at his side in seconds.

"Are you alright honey? Do you need anything? Are you in pain? Should I call a nurse? "There were tears in her eyes as she smoothed away her youngest son's messy hair from his face. He grunted and she started sobbing, excusing herself from the room to try and regain some composure. Itachi replaced her at his side.

"That was a close call, wasn't it?" He heard his brother say quietly. Sasuke covered his eyes with his hand.

"That is an understatement."

"They said you were lucky."

"If I were lucky, I wouldn't have gotten shot." Itachi sucked his teeth.

"You've got that right." His brother shoved his hands in to his pockets. "Listen, about the doctor who treated you-" A knock at the door interrupted him. Both men looked up.

A very familiar, ghostly face peeked in. Her bottom lip trembled and Sasuke could feel his heart beat quicken.

"Ano, Uchiha-san, I was wondering if I could have a word." Itachi blinked a few times before taking the hint and walking out of the room, closing the door gently behind him. Hinata approached Sasuke's bed but made no move to go beyond the foot of it.

"Hi." She said after a few moments.

"Hi." He replied. Her gaze fell and she started fiddling with his charts.

"Sakura-chan told me about what happened. "

"Sakura?"

"She's the one who treated you…" Sasuke eyed his former girlfriend and couldn't help the pang of regret seep through his skin. He cleared his throat.

"You look good." She smiled, tears pooling in her eyes.

"I wish I could say the same for you." She choked.

"Hinata I-"

"I should have fought with you." She blurted and he snapped his mouth shut. Tears rolled down her cheeks as a decade of held up emotions began to spill out. " I should have fought with you and stood up for myself. I shouldn't have allowed you to… so easily… I could have- I just- Sasuke I could never stop loving you. After all these years, I could not even bring myself to begin to get over you and now here you are… You could have died." She stopped herself, closing her eyes and breathing. "You could have died and I would have never gotten to tell you that I still love you and that I miss you. I miss you so much so that it hurts…" She pulled a tissue out of the pocket of her lab coat and dabbed at her eyes. He beckoned her over.

"Stop crying." He ordered and she looked up, a little surprised at his sharp tone. "You've always meant the world to me." He began. "I was never good with words but..." He pulled her down to him and kissed her.

Sakura pushed her way through the door to see the two of them kiss and she retreated as softly as she could so they wouldn't notice and therefore ruin the moment. Mikoto came up behind her.

"Sakura-chan! Is everything alright?" Sakura waved her comment aside.

"Oh everything is fine, fine. I would not go in there for a bit. Sasuke seems to be a little busy at the moment." She smiled at his mother and the light in Sakura's green eyes assured the older woman that everything was going to be alright.


Dear Reader:

No time to proofread. Will do later if I feel like it. Test in less than twenty minutes. Need to get to class. It's over. Happy trails. On to something else! Leave me... err... something.

NewRageInc.