Hello all,

I'm updating! Its long and it has to last you a long time. Probably till the semester is over, I almost have the next chapter written, actually I suppose I could break it into two chapters and then you get two updates relatively fast. Anyways I swear I proofed it, but I suck at proofing, so if there are any egregious mistakes feel free to message me and I'll fix them.


Chapter Four


~"The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."

–Charles Dubois~

Hatake took the child ahead of her, and when she arrived back at the village the boy was already in the middle of a complicated treatment Sakura was administering. Yuurie wanted to stay at the hospital but Hatake explained patiently to her that she was sick and couldn't be in the hospital. He escorted her to their room and ordered her to rest. Her first instinct was to follow orders and it lasted until Hatake had left the room and was out of sight.

She told herself she had tried to fall asleep and therefore had complied with the order. She knew the flimsy excuse would never work with the Enforcer, but she thought with this new captain it might be acceptable. Besides her original mission objective was to observe her target, Hatake Kakashi, and if her target was with the boy then it was even more acceptable for her to check on him.

Masking her presence she slipped through the village undetected in the manor that earned her the call name Ghost. When she arrived she felt Sakura's chakra at work, but it must have been in a more central room because Yuurie couldn't see her from the trees she was using as cover. So she waited reasoning that if she actively felt Sakura's chakra at work then the boy must still be fighting. When it started to rain Yuurie scowled, every time she ran into this boy, Riku, it rained.

Yuurie stayed through the night, Sakura had finished working around dinner and had moved the boy to a bed Yuurie could see from the window. From her vantage point she was able to watch Sakura rush to the boy's side twice to perform more healing, and she understood with depressing clarity that the boy was very ill. With a focus that she gave to her missions she watched Riku's breath rise and fall without knowing she was matching her own breath to his, willing him to take the next.

She heard the Enforcer telling her cruelly this was not her mission. It was a distraction. She recognized this as true, that it shouldn't matter to her whether the boy lived or died, since it wasn't a matter of village security. But another voice in her head, the voice reminiscent of her first teacher, prayed for him to live.

And Riku did survive the night, but another girl did not. The wails of the parents woke most of the village in the early morning. Yuurie watched a defeated looking Haruno try and comfort the parents, who turned on her angrily. She waited for the girl to defend herself, after all she was the Godaime's apprentice, but she did nothing as the father angrily moved closer to Haruno. It was Hatake who intercepted the parents, deflecting their wrath away from his student.

When the parents finally left, Haruno remained standing looking downcast. Hatake placed a hand on her shoulder and said something. Yuurie couldn't read his lips with the mask on, but his face held comfort and whatever he said made Sakura straighten her shoulders and head back to her desk with new determination.

Yuurie wondered what he said and thought back to her old team and the man who had encouraged her, the cast off child of a greater clan. She remembered him talking her back up after her father died. When she'd given up hope he brought it back, but then he'd died as well, and Danzo had different beliefs.

Danzo had told her that there was no hope unless one adhered strictly to the rules he provided. And after a time she had seen he was right. She believed it, but Root procedure would have been to kill Pein. Naruto had not done so, and he'd saved half the village by listening. She didn't want to consider the implications of that because of how it would rewrite her nindu.

Looking at Sakura she wondered what was Sakura's nindu. According to Root she should have let all these people die. They were nonessential civilians, but Sakura saw children with families who cared and loved them. That led to a bark of laughter thinking about Roots take on love. It was 'a fleeting unimportant emotion whose only use was that it could be used to manipulate others on the battlefield'. Sakura however used it to motivate her, instead of using the methodology put forth by the shinobi tennets. She cared, just like her blonde, fool of teammate. 'It didn't make sense,' Yuurie thought growling to herself.

"You really shouldn't be here, Yuurie-san," his voice made her jump and reflexively pull a kunai. Hatake Kakashi held his hands up in a deceptively neutral position, but Yuurie could see two ways the position could be defensive and one way it could be lethal with a small adjustment. He'd snuck up on her again.

"I did go lie down, sir," Yuurie spat out quickly, putting the kunai back into her pack, trying to convey she had followed orders.

"You shouldn't be out here because it's raining and you're sick," he said exasperatedly.

Yuurie didn't respond, not wanting to push him into making a direct order to go lay down out of the rain. He didn't say anything for a while, just watched his student work. The silence made Yuurie nervous. She never knew what to expect with Hatake Kakashi, her target.

The silence reigned as the rain soaked his hair and vest. She noticed that soaking wet he seemed younger less like a hardened warrior and more like a tired young man, old before his time. Yuurie hated when she noticed things like that, so she was glad when he broke the silence. Only his next words weren't what she expected, "You wouldn't recognize her, if you had met her as a gennin, well except for the hair…. What self respecting ninja has pink hair?"

Yuurie couldn't help it, she made a noise of agreement, the pink hair was a little ridiculous. Kakashi continued after a moment, "She was so silly, incredibly smart, but focused on nothing worthwhile. Just her crush. She had potential hidden in her and I didn't see it. I was so focused on my other students, a genius and… well you've seen Naruto. I just ignored her. The best thing she did was go to the Godaime for training, because I failed her."

Yuurie didn't know how to respond to this sudden melancholic speech. She knew she should say something, but she wasn't sure what was appropriate. She recognized he was confiding this in her, because he wanted to talk about it, but why he had picked her was incomprehensible. "I'm…. I'm sure you did what you thought was best, Hatake-san," Yuurie managed lamely.

He looked from the window to Yuurie so she could see the sadness in his eyes when he responded, "I did, I let her go. I failed my students and I let them all go." He let out an unpleasant bark of laughter before continuing, "Not that I had a choice, one ran away, the other I couldn't protect and that one in there, I didn't even see the incredible shinobi she had it in her to become."

Yuurie looked in wonder at him, he blamed himself for his students failures, "In Root, a students failure to learn or thrive is seen as the fault of the student never of the master."

"Maybe it was combination of both, or maybe the failure of my team is proof I'm not fit for anything with leadership responsibilities," he spoke. "Either way, I'll never have another gennin team. To take one and risk failing as I did with Team 7…" He shook his head.

"But you lead this time?" Yurrie said confused.

"And that is all I am good for- assasinations," there was self-hatred in his voice. Yuurie knew that emotion well.

Yuurie looked at him, her mind racing, "You don't crave the title of Hokage?"

"No," Hatake, "I am not wise enough for that, I keep having to relearn all the important lessons."

"The important lessons?" Yuurie asked confused.

"The things that make a truly great shinobi," Hatake answered but he didn't elaborate more than that and Yuurie didn't ask. She couldn't help but think, Hatake's definition of great shinobi leader would be vastly different than Danzo's. And with Hatake's definition you had Naruto and Sakura who saved a lot more lives, lives Danzo would consider inconsequential. Lives, Yuurie was learning were not inconsequential at all. Yuurie groaned, this team was giving her a perpetual headache.

Sakura was stumped, she said it was as though someone had modified the virus to some extent because it wasn't responding to her initial treatment. That had been two days ago, despite Yuurie's insistence that they didn't have time for a delay and needed to get back to there assigned mission was half hearted, but her duty to Root made her point it out each morning. Yuurie sent another report to Danzo, this time explaining about the plague affecting a local village. She stressed that the team was helping Konoha residents and it was important that this sickness not spread. She used all the reasons Hatake had given her, but she knew they would fail to convince Danzo. Two more children had died since then, the medical puzzle was driving Sakura crazy, she hadn't slept since the one night Hatake had ordered them to sleep. Finally Kakashi drugged her drink again with a sleeping powder so she'd sleep for a while. During that time, Riku had died.

Yuurie hadn't been there, she'd been out collecting more herbs for Sakura ever growing list of needed supplies. Hatake had met her on he edge of the village, the look in his eyes she recognized, all shinobi knew that look. "I'm so sorry, Yuurie-san," he began. But Yuurie stopped listening, she knew what it was because it had been only person she'd shown interest in since they'd gotten here.

Yuurie stared at the setting sun, ignoring her mark. She handed him the bag and strode off without saying anything. Kakashi watched her go, he wished she'd react just a little bit more, he knew in her own way she had cared about that boy. The first thing she'd cared about in a while, he guessed. He stared at the bag she'd handed him, so gentle as to not crush the useless medical supplies. She was always a shinobi first, he had noticed. No emotions, no fear.

Yuurie didn't come back that night, or the following day. When she finally showed up at dinner. Hatake raised an eyebrow quizzically; but her face didn't change. She looked tired and resigned, bracing herself for whatever punishment he was going to dole out. "Yuurie-san, next time please send notice that you won't be back. I was worried you might have gotten in trouble."

Her face momentarily registered surprise, and her mouth opened for a moment before she nodded and her face went back to blank. Kakashi had just finished making his plate and he moved so she could get into their makeshift kitchen to grab some chow. He watched her, the lethal root agent didn't show right now, she just looked tired. Ignoring the knowledge that she was Danzo's spy, he took pity on her. He pushed his already laden plate at her and smiled (not that she could see it with his mask in place). She took the plate with wide uncomprehending eyes. He didn't say anything more, just turned to fix himself another plate. He frowned when he'd noticed that he had taken the last - for his plate and now there were none left for his new plate. He glanced back, she was still standing there in shock, he supposed he could just reach out and take half of it back.

Moving to do so, he stopped as he saw her flinch and stick the plate out for him to take back, Kakashi stopped and wondered what she thought he was going to do. He shook his head, "Naw its for you, I'm making myself another one." He said lifting his new plate up, and loading it with the vegetables and healthy stuff that remained, stuff he had intentionally left out the first time. Sitting down looking mournfully at the sweet and less healthy stuff he'd put on his original plate, and then bit into his vegetables.

She was still standing frozen when he sat down, confused by the gesture. He'd given her his plate, that was.. was.. odd. His original plate that had had the good stuff of the meal still in it, the - and -, which his plate now lacked. She looked at him crunching on his vegetables looking back her plate every now and then. He voice was sudden and she supposed it would have made civilians jump, "If you don't eat that soon it's going to get cold."

So she sat and ate dinner with him. They didn't talk, she was starving and the food was very good. When dinner was over, she stood up taking his plate as she did (he thanked her before heading out back to the hospital) and moving to the sink where she did the dishes. It was so surreal, had sat in this dimly lit kitchen and eating dinner with the man she was trying to find a reason to kill because Danzo thought he was a threat to the village. Yuurie generally didn't think to hard about her assignments but the more she learned about this man, the more she felt he was an asset and not a threat. She set the plate down more firmly than she intended in her frustration and was rewarded with the cracking sound of the ceramic.

Looking at the cracked plate, now useless she choked out a laugh, 'Yeah that about summed it up.'

The next morning she went back to the hospital. It had been six days since the children had first stumbled into their camp, and while Sakura was making progress, she didn't have answers. She was delaying the deaths and easing their pain but the children were still deteriorating and no one was getting better. It didn't help that the young women was exhausted. She'd only slept 20 hours in the time they had been here. She wouldn't let anyone get her food or drink since that last time Kakashi had drugged her. She still hadn't forgiven him for letting her sleep when Riku had died, even though their captain was right she wouldn't have been able to do anything. When Yuurie arrived at the hospital, Haruno Sakura was trying to explain to grieving parents why she hadn't been able to save their child who had passed last night.

The parents were blaming the medic, and when the man punched the exhausted girl, Yuurie was surprised when she not only caught the medic who had stumbled backwards, but spoke sharply, "You will leave."

The man's face looked angrier, but something in Yuurie's face convinced him to leave. He stormed out the door slamming it. The wife followed tears streaming from her eyes. "Yuurie-san, you can't speak to them like that, they are hurting." The exhausted young women said holding a glowing hand to her eye, Yuurie was surprised to see she had chakra left after the way she'd been pushing herself.

"They should have never been able to land hit," Yuurie said angrily with the girl in front her.

"I deserve it, I came in so sure I could fix it easily and I failed," Haruno her voice full of self-loathing. "I gave them hope and then was unable to follow it through."

"Don't be foolish," Yuurie said in the same tone that she had used when reprimanding the girl for speaking so openly. "You are the best chance this village has of not loosing all it's children. As I much as I don't want to waste time here, you are the only one who can save them." Her mind flashed back to the boy she had befriended, who was now dead.

"My shishou could have cured it by now," Sakura said hanging her head, Yuurie was getting annoyed this girl was pitying herself. "Everyone expects me to be just like her, but I'm not even recognized for my talent, just by the talent she has supposedly passed on to me."

Yuurie thought this explained why the girl had a made a face at being recognized by the name of her teacher. She just wanted to be recognized by her own skills and her own strength.

"I'm so tired of never being strong enough, I can't do anything right." She said burying her face in her hands.

"Are you done, Haruno?" Yuurie asked insensitively. "There are children that need you, so you don't have time to pity your own failings. Later if you'd like I can go over them all with you, but now you have work to do. Work you are not only strong enough to do, but very capable of doing. Now if you sit down and give up now, you are not the person I've come to believe you to be."

Sakura sat bolt up, angry and embarrassed, she opened her mouth and closed it. But stood up and walked back into the tent. Yuurie smiled, pleased with her triumph. Then triumph was followed by horror, what had she been thinking. She had just missed a prime opportunity to convince the girl to give up and get them back on the mission. Yet she had encouraged the girl and told her keep going.

Shaking her head, she reasoned she had only done so because the depression of having failed these children would have hindered the group efficiency in the long run. That was what she told herself, but she didn't believe it, because she didn't want anymore of these children to die and Sakura really was the best the chance they had.

The next morning Sakura called a meeting with the village. "You are not giving up Sakura-san," it was the man who'd first recognized Sakura's name, he had turned out to be the village's leader.

"No, I'm just at a dead end and thought maybe you all would have an idea," She responded, shooting a glance at Yuurie and smiling. Yuurie did not smile back, but that didn't seem to dampen the girl's spirit. Sakura began to go into detail about the illness and what methods she had tried to save the sick children.

She narrowed it down to two possible causes, however she needed a more critical ill patient to determine which cause it was. All of her patients were in the middle of the disease progressing at about the same rate, so Sakura was worried by the time she figured out the cause, all the children would be too sick for the treatment to be effective.

(A/N- Okay so here's the thing, I'm going to laze out, I tried think of contagious disease that would be solved this way and while I'm sure there is one, I can't think of one and the cause of the disease is unimportant for the story and I could post the remaining chapters if I refer to the symptoms as Option A and Option B, so that's what I'm doing because like I said it doesn't make a difference to the story and I figured the medical mystery was not the reason you were reading the story)

"So why not just treat for both?" Hatake asked. Yuurie agreed, but Sakura was shaking her head.

"The treatments are antagonistic towards each other," she said tiredly.

The silence lingered for a moment and suddenly Yuurie realized she might be able to help and with her usual grace and tact she spoke abruptly, "You need answers from the dead to save the living?" Her question sounded odd to her own ears and she understood her gift.

"Yes, Yuurie-san," Sakura said through gritted teeth. Yuurie wondered at the young woman's tone before she realized the question was mocking if you didn't understand her kekkei genkai. Yuurie didn't immediately respond, she was contemplating breaking one of Danzo's rules that he was so fond of enforcing. After all her kekkei ghenki was a secret, only to be used for the good of the village, and by Root's definition this was not the good of the village nor the assigned mission. That meant she should leave it alone, but that wasn't what this team would do.

She looked up, while the rest of the room had continued putting forth increasingly ridiculous ideas, her target was watching her intently. It would be so easy for her to help, and she reasoned if she did they could leave and get back on track sooner. The depletion of her chakra would be beneficial to the mission. Satisfied with the loophole she'd found, she spoke, "I can do that." She had to talk over them at first. "I can get those answers." This time they all stared at her.

So feel free to Review or not, I'd love to know what you think. And please point out mistakes, I know they are there and I apologize, I promise I look for them. Its just its 12 pages, its exhausting to proof.- Kayli