TITLE: Code Hanami
TIMELINE/SPOILERS/WARNINGS: AU, non-massacre.
DISCLAIMER: Masashi Kishimoto owns Naruto and all related characters, etc etc etc.
SUMMARY: With the help of sheer luck an an experimental genjutsu, Sakura managed to pass her ANBU exam. Unfortunately, her ANBU mentor was getting on her nerves in more ways than one.
A/N: This was the original chapter 4 until I bumped up the other one. I'm surprised there are people who feel sorry for Itachi lol (because everyone hates him at my other fic haha)
Chapter 05 – Hippocratic Oath
Sakura once more failed to keep up Tsunade's chakra manipulation testing device for the whole night, although she had the feeling she lasted longer each summon compared to her first overnight attempt.
"Not bad," Tsunade said as she read the report released by the summoning scroll she had given to Sakura for the device. "On average you can keep it up for about an hour once you're asleep. It breaks when you move too much. From today I'll make it so that it'll break in five minutes if you don't switch hands, but it'll remain the same as before if you're sleeping."
Tsunade placed another jutsu on the summoning scroll before throwing it back to Sakura, who caught it with her free hand.
"Hand me that poison you got from Itachi," Tsunade said as she pulled over a stack of papers that she had to review. "I want to confirm the possibility of the enemies he had dispatched were working with another shinobi village."
Cold sweat instantly dotted Sakura's forehead. "Erm, 'poison', shishou?"
"Yes," Tsunade said impatiently. She then looked up at Sakura. "You're Itachi's medic, aren't you?"
"Y-Yes, but— I'm sorry. I'll bring it back as soon as possible."
And with another apology, Sakura quickly approached Shizune outside Tsunade's office.
"Shizune-senpai," Sakura said hurriedly. "Did Itachi Uchiha check in the hospital last night?"
"Not that I know of, no," the older woman answered. "Is there something wrong?"
"Damn it," Sakura mumbled. "I have to look for him. Thanks, Shizune-senpai."
A quick run to the hospital didn't yield any positive results as no one had admitted an ANBU with pony-tailed hair and weasel mask, nor were there any Uchiha there. Getting more worried as she knew Itachi wasn't capable of extracting poisons, Sakura rushed over to the Uchiha compound straight for her patient's house.
"Good morning, Mikoto-san," Sakura greeted the woman by the main door. "Is Itachi-san inside?"
"Is there something wrong?" Mikoto sensed the urgency in Sakura's tone. "He went home last night, but he still hasn't had his breakfast."
"I have to see him, as his medic."
"Oh dear," Mikoto led the way inside their house. "Is it bad?"
"I… I'm sorry; I'm not sure…"
After going through several hallways, Sakura was standing before Itachi Uchiha's bedroom. She could sense his disturbed chakra from inside, but at least she could now confirm it wasn't a fatal poison. Or, at least, Itachi's body was fighting it well.
"Don't worry, Mikoto-san," Sakura turned to the guy's mother beside her. "Based on his chakra flow, he'll live."
"Oh good," Mikoto sighed in relief. "Do you need anything?"
"He might have to eat his breakfast in his room."
"I'll bring some food over, then."
And the older woman left. Taking a deep breath, Sakura entered Itachi's room, beelining for the guy who was doubled over, sweating and feverish, clearly in pain.
"You idiot!" Sakura said as she roughly pushed him on to his back. "If you didn't want me to heal you, you should have gone to the hospital!"
Letting Tsunade's device shatter on the floor beside her, Sakura began to assess the different chakra disturbances in Itachi's body.
"He insisted he didn't need any help," Shisui's voice came from the doorway. He was balancing a large tray of breakfast enough for two people with one hand, while with the other he had a large bowl of water and several towels draped on his arm. "I even offered to bring over Hana, even though she's a vet, but he threw me out, instead."
"Four broken ribs," Sakura said as she passed a chakra-enveloped hand over Itachi's side. She paused as she slid open Itachi's kimono top. "What the hell is with these haphazard sutures? You should have gone to see a medic! And your lungs aren't sealed properly! They're still bleeding!" She then continued her assessment. "A broken arm— no, crushed arm— and multiple pierce wounds on your legs," Sakura punched Itachi's injured thigh, causing it to bleed once more. "Aren't you supposed to be invincible?"
"I was thinking about that, too," Shisui said cheerfully. "I wonder if there's something distracting him…"
Sakura ignored the knowing sound in Shisui's voice. "Prepare the water, will you?" She said as she threw a bottle of concentrated antiseptic liquid towards him.
As Shisui busied himself, Sakura made an incision using chakra scalpel near the puncture wounds on Itachi's neck where three poison darts have hit him.
"Whoa, wait," Shisui said as he turned over to Sakura. "Aren't you going to give him some anaesthetics first?"
"Consider it his punishment for acting so stupidly," Sakura gritted as she gathered the antiseptic water from Shisui's bowl and forced it in the incision with the help of her chakra. "Breathe evenly," she instructed Itachi. "And stop squirming!" She scolded.
Keeping a steady hand, Sakura waited for the remaining poison in Itachi's bloodstream to accumulate before she extracted the liquid out of Itachi's body. Shisui was ready to receive the poison and water with the bowl.
"This doesn't look much," he said as he observed the pea-sized dark liquid in the water bowl.
"It's already been absorbed by his body," Sakura said as she closed the incision she made and studied the poison shortly before rummaging through her medical pack. Mixing three powdered herbs together, she took one of the glasses of drinking water Itachi's mother had prepared and dissolved it to make an antidote solution. She then picked up Itachi's head and made him drink up the whole glass. "It'll take a day before your whole body gets rid of all the toxins," she said. "You'll have a slight fever and you won't be able to have much control over your muscles, but otherwise you're safe from any danger. See? This is what you get if you keep running away from your medic."
As if to add emphasis on her reprimand, she physically felt for Itachi's cracked ribs even though she could easily do so with just her chakra. His wound started to bleed through the stitches. Itachi didn't make any sound, but his pale demeanor clearly showed it hurt a lot.
"Man, I am so glad you're not my medic," Shisui said as Sakura proceeded to speed up the cell regeneration on Itachi's injured areas.
An hour later, Sakura deemed Itachi stable enough to be left to rest. She was just cleaning up and storing the liquid poison in a small sample bottle when there was a soft knock on the bedroom door and Mikoto Uchiha stepped in.
"Is he fine?" She asked Sakura, who nodded with a reassuring smile.
"Don't worry, Mikoto-san. Itachi-san just needs to rest, and he might be able to get up tomorrow morning."
"Oh, that's good to hear," Mikoto said in relief. "I feel so silly, not noticing my own son is injured…"
"No one will blame you," Sakura said as she closed her medical pack and started to clean up the debris of Tsunade's device from the floor. "He's good in hiding things."
"You got that right," Shisui piped in with a grin.
Sakura dusted her knees. "I'll go on ahead, then,"
"Why don't you join Itachi for breakfast?" Mikoto suggested.
"Thanks," Sakura said with an apologetic smile. "But I have to report to the Hokage as soon as possible."
"That's a shame," Mikoto said in disappointment. "Are you coming back later?"
"Maybe before dinner, to check up on Itachi-san's healing progress."
"I'll prepare food for you as well, then."
"N-No need," Sakura said as she waved her hands. "It's my job to heal those who are injured, afterall."
"I insist," Mikoto said, her stubbornness manifesting as she held Sakura's hand firmly.
Sakura bit back her sigh. "I'm sorry to intrude on you…"
"What are you talking about; it's the least I can do for my sons' friend."
Not wanting to make things worse for herself, Sakura bade goodbye to the woman and left the Uchiha compound to hand over the poison sample to Tsunade, who was having a hard time holding back a lecture for her protégé.
"Fugaku Uchiha dropped by before you came in," she said. "He was 'wondering' why Itachi Uchiha was failed to be treated by his medic."
Sakura pursed her lips. As much as she wanted to blame the guy for failing to inform her of his injuries, she had been assigned as his medic for some time now and so it was her responsibility to make sure he's fit for another mission after coming home from one.
"It's my fault," Sakura begrudgingly admitted. "I didn't check up on him when he dropped by my apartment."
Tsunade raised a brow. "You didn't read his chakra flow?"
"I couldn't," Sakura answered. "He usually hides it."
"Why didn't you check up on him, anyway? You know how his old man's always making a fuss about making sure his clansmen, especially his sons, weren't spared any expense 'in exchange for their services to Konoha'. Chi, that bastard…"
"I'm sorry," Sakura said, and she really meant it, but not for the Uchiha but rather for her mentor. "I… wasn't feeling too well last night. It's not an excuse, though."
"I heard from Shisui and Sai what had happened," Tsunade said. "Sai mentioned you had knowledge of Itachi Uchiha's injuries through his observations, though he hadn't mentioned to you what they were."
Sakura cringed. "Y-Yes, shishou…"
Tsunade stared hard at Sakura, who couldn't look back at her in guilt. She had been taught from day one to heal Konoha's allies and the innocents, regardless of their identity or her bias against them, and she had never broken that oath until now.
"I suggest you attend to Itachi Uchiha for the whole night, even if it's unnecessary," Tsunade said as she observed the sample bottle that contained the poison used against Itachi. "That might convince Fugaku Uchiha that he doesn't need to go after our hides once more for this mishap."
With a bow, Sakura left Tsunade's office. She didn't want to go back to the Uchiha compound knowing that Sasuke's father was sure to have some choice words for her, but following Tsunade's advice was the best she could do.
For the rest of the day Sakura continued her chakra manipulation and moulding training. Shisui didn't follow her this time, which was for the best as she didn't want a reminder of her night house call. Several groups of genin attacked her today in an attempt to disrupt her from balancing Tsunade's device, but Sakura didn't have any problems dealing with them as she could easily transfer the device between hands. Sakura also noticed that she was spending less attention to keep up the device, as if it was coming to her naturally. She hoped she would improve in keeping it up while she was sleeping.
That is, if she got any while 'keeping watch' over Itachi.
O O O
"Do you need anything else?"
Sakura gave the woman beside her an apologetic smile.
"I'm really sorry for bothering you," she said.
"Oh it's no problem," Mikoto said. "But are you sure it's alright that you're the one feeding Itachi?"
Sakura could feel one of her brows twitch though she managed to keep up her smile. "Yes. I'm used to attending to patients so I have no problems with it."
"Alright," Mikoto said as she stood up. "I will leave you two alone, then."
The truth was that Sakura just didn't want to spend time with Fugaku Uchiha around. So between having dinner with the Uchiha head and feeding Itachi, it was clear which one she'd rather do.
"Well then," Sakura said as she laid the tray of food on her lap. She picked up a piece of tofu and offered it to her patient's mouth. "Open up."
Itachi looked back at her in all seriousness. "I can eat on my own."
And to demonstrate, he picked up a pair of chopsticks and reached out for the baked fish. He hadn't even gotten a bite-sized piece when his arm went limp and his chopsticks fell on the futon.
"Right," Sakura said with a nod. "Would you like me to hold your hand and guide your fingers so you can still call it 'eating on my own'?"
Itachi clearly didn't find any humor in this— not that Sakura expected him to— and the medic went on and made sure he got his needed nutrition. He motioned for her to stop when he had half of his dinner, but when Sakura threatened to remind Fugaku Uchiha how his son was outwitted by her he gave in and forced himself to finish his meal.
"There," Sakura said as he helped Itachi lie back on his futon. "If you had been this good of a patient yesterday then you wouldn't have trouble controlling your muscles now."
"You don't have to stay here and keep watch over me."
"I know," Sakura started with her own dinner. "Unfortunately, this is the only way I can make sure your father doesn't bug shishou again. At least, for now. He's always got a reason to make life hard for her, doesn't he?"
"He's only acting so for the benefit of the clan and the village."
"Chi," Sakura said. "Even if that was the case, he didn't have to be a stuck-up prat just like the council elders. They should have more trust in shishou. Seriously, your clan should get over with the whole Uchiha versus Senju thing."
"I believe as well that the past rivalry should be forgotten."
Chopsticks pausing by her lips, Sakura stared at Itachi. With the very few times she's been around him, he's always been quiet and rarely shared his personal opinion on things.
"Wow," Sakura couldn't help but say. "I expected you to be right behind your father in everything he believes in."
"Like normal families we have our own disagreements," Itachi said. "Only I go about it in a roundabout way. There is no need for confrontation if one could sidetrack and change another's thoughts and decisions."
"Are you telling me that even your father can be manipulated?"
She was answered by a hint of a smirk.
"It's easy to learn from mother."
"Huh," Sakura said as she continued eating. "I'd love to see that."
Mikoto came back half an hour later to pick up the dishes, and Sakura helped her clean up. She was then led to the bathroom where Sakura had a short shower while Mikoto helped her son prepare for sleeping despite Itachi insisting he could do it on his own. When Sakura went back to Itachi's room he was reading a book by a lamp light in a new change of dark blue kimono.
"You're going to sleep after an hour, the most," Sakura said as returned to her seat beside Itachi's futon. "Unless you want to delay your recovery again."
She then summoned another of Tsunade's device and tried to experiment with it by sending her chakra from a distance. She knew it was possible, due to Kabuto healing her arm despite standing several feet away from her during the time they had tried to trick him and Orochimaru in an information-gathering mission.
She had to summon another copy after moving her hand a foot away from the sphere.
"You can try an easier way, first," Itachi spoke in the silence of the room.
A hiss of a curse escaped Sakura's lips as her momentary distraction caused the glass sphere to break, and she had to collect the pieces to prevent injuring anyone.
"From both hands, between your fingers," Itachi said as he held up his own set. "Release your chakra and make them reach each other, making a link. Then, make the link longer by slowly pulling your hands apart while adding more chakra to it."
"Well that makes sense," Sakura said as she closed Tsunade's summoning scroll and tried doing what Itachi had suggested.
It was easy making the chakra coming from both her hands connect to each other. However, the same couldn't exactly be said while she's pulling her hands farther from each other. She had to calculate again and again to know how much chakra she should release— too much would cause the link to disperse like an uncontrollable vapour, and too little would cause the link to thin out or break altogether. Still, as she did pride upon the fact that she had precise chakra control, Sakura managed to make a chakra link between her hands for as far as she could spread them apart. No matter how fast or slow she went, the chakra link she made kept its diameter and consistent, hazy, cylindrical-like shape.
"Okay," Sakura said as she turned to Itachi. She may have been irked at him at times, especially when he should be at the hospital while she examined him for any injuries or irregularities, but he wasn't called a genius for nothing. "What's next?"
"As you would one day need to heal another patient from a distance, it is advisable to now practice connecting your chakra with another person's."
"Right," Sakura said as she nodded in understanding. "Can I test it with you?"
He looked hesitant for a brief moment. "... I see no problem with it."
Taking a deep breath, Sakura laid her right hand with Itachi's right hand and green chakra flowed warmly from her. Slowly, Sakura lifted her hand from Itachi's, and she frowned upon noticing something.
"I see," Sakura said as she laid back her hand with Itachi's. She deduced that she had to follow basic rule of balancing her chakra with her target's when she was healing someone, which was quite obvious that she wanted to slap her forehead.
Continuing to make mental notes for herself, Sakura tried to keep a chakra link between her and Itachi's hands. When she was sure their link was stable at a meter distance, Sakura looked back at Itachi.
"Can you try changing the chakra flow in your right hand?" She asked.
Itachi complied, and Sakura practiced balancing their chakra link while her patient's chakra flow varied in levels. She was getting the hang of it and so she tried, from the one meter distance, to reach out to Itachi's torso injury. It was considerably more difficult than starting from a close distance and moving farther, but after several attempts Sakura's chakra didn't scatter too much and was reaching the injury at a faster speed every time.
"Would you like to try it on a fresh wound?" Itachi inquired.
Sakura quickly shook her head. "There's no need. You should be resting—"
But Itachi was quicker than her reasoning, and he had sliced his palm with a kunai he procured from under his bed before Sakura could finish her sentence.
"Are you insane?" Sakura said as she tried to reach for Itachi's injured hand.
Itachi, however, pulled away his hand to the other side of the futon, far from Sakura's reach.
"This is why I hate being your medic!" Sakura said as she reached out for Itachi's injured hand, but the guy firmly held her by her shoulder with his other hand. "Why are you being so difficult?"
"You wouldn't know if it works if you don't try it," Itachi said.
Sakura grumbled under her breath. "Just don't do it again, you hear me? The last thing I want to happen is for your father to think I'm doing some medical experiment on you."
"You are doing an experiment on me."
"Just shut up," Sakura growled. "And you're sleeping after I heal you."
Taking another deep breath, Sakura raised her hand. Her chakra connected with Itachi's injury, and to her satisfaction, she could heal his cut with no problem.
Itachi studied the palm of his hand and, seeing not a faint scar, turned to Sakura with a rare, pleased smile.
"It is no wonder the Godaime is proud of her protégé."
"Yeah, yeah," Sakura said with pinkened cheeks. She was used to people admiring her for her medical skills, as she was proud of her accomplishments which were not easy to achieve, but she always got embarrassed whenever the mood wasn't heavy and serious. "You're still going to sleep now whether you like it or not."
Satisfied that Itachi was being compliant as he laid his book by his futon's side and he slipped under his covers, Sakura turned off the lamp light and walked out to the veranda overlooking a grassy lot with a single somei yoshino cherry tree and a koi pond just outside Itachi's room. She remembered telling Itachi the year before that he needed a tree in his garden, and up until now she couldn't believe that he followed her suggestion.
'For a genius, he can be an idiot at times,' Sakura thought as she recalled Itachi injuring himself without any hesitation. 'Still, he DID help me a lot today…'
Deeming that it was enough for her to start being nicer to her always reluctant patient, Sakura unrolled Tsunade's summoning scroll and started to practice and perfect directing a stable chakra flow from her hands to an inanimate object, which was now easier thanks to Itachi's unexpected assistance.
O O O
The following morning found Sakura sleeping by the veranda just outside Itachi's room. The morning fog still covered the whole village, and Sakura shivered as she wrapped her blanket tighter to her body.
Rubbing sleep from her eyes, Sakura sat up and held the dark blue cloth at arm's length. She then noticed the debris from Tsunade's devices that she had summoned the whole night and started gathering them in a trash bag she had learned to carry with her at all times.
"You should be inside," a mildly irritated voice came from just beside her. "And what's with all the broken glass?"
Sasuke, in his usual casual clothes of high-collared blue shirt and white pants, handed Sakura a hot cup of tea which she gladly accepted.
"Since when did you get back?" Sakura asked as she held the cup between her stiff hands.
"Just an hour ago," Sasuke said, and he let out a healthy yawn.
Sasuke gave her a look that vaguely reminded Sakura of the time when she had asked Itachi if he was injured back on their first ANBU mission together.
"Anyway," Sakura said as she wrapped herself with the blanket once more. "Thanks for this," she shrugged her shoulders to emphasize the item warming her up.
"Hn," Sasuke said as he turned to the cherry blossom tree. "I wasn't the one who gave it to you."
Sakura looked back at the shoji screen doors leading to Itachi's room.
"Maybe it's Mikoto-san," Sakura said as she lifted her tea cup to her lips.
Afterall, Itachi wouldn't be able to walk on his own until around lunch time at the very least, and even then he would need to go slowly or have someone help him. Fugaku Uchiha laying a blanket for her was downright impossible, not to mention disturbing.
"I didn't know you do house calls," Sasuke broke the silence that had come between them.
"I don't," Sakura answered. "I had to do this to get shishou's ass out of the fire your father always breathes out. As much as I don't want to admit it, it was my fault."
"… Was it bad?"
"Nah. Usual shinobi injuries, although I'm surprised your brother got that injured. He also got poisoned, but his fever should be gone by now and he should be able to run about and do the things he usually does by sundown. He still has to take it easy until tomorrow to make sure his injuries completely heal up."
"Did nii-san say how he got injured?"
"I think that's pretty much obvious. You get attacked with sharp, pointy objects and you get pierced and slashed."
"Sakura," Sasuke's warning-laced voice made the kunoichi laugh.
"Sasuke," she said with a smirk. "Even if your brother's a genius among the genius of the Uchiha clan, he's bound to get injured every now and then."
"He never had any in the past few years."
Sakura studied Sasuke carefully, noting the underlying look of worry in his scowl.
"Shisui sounded like he knew something, but I have no idea," Sakura said with a shrug. "Just ask your brother if it's really bothering you."
The fog was starting to clear up, and the morning light gave enough warmth for Sakura to shake off the blanket from her shoulders.
"Mother should be done cooking breakfast," Sasuke said as he stood up from his seat.
Sakura followed suit as she folded and draped the blanket on her left arm. "By any chance," she whispered. "Is your father joining?"
"He always eats breakfast at home."
"Maybe Itachi still can't get up… That should give me an excuse to stay in this room instead."
The shoji screen doors opened and Mikoto smiled at the sight of the two. Behind her, Itachi was up and wearing a change of kimono, his hair wet from the bath. 'How could he recover THAT fast?' Sakura thought dolefully.
"Time to eat breakfast," Mikoto announced cheerfully. "Father is already reading the morning paper."
O O O
Sakura had, being friends with Sasuke since their genin days, eaten breakfast with the Uchiha household on several occasions. However, Naruto was usually with her and, given his talkative nature and his reputation, attention was mostly given to him if it was directed to the guests. This saved Sakura from having to talk on the dinner table unless she was spoken to— a trait that Fugaku Uchiha had once commented on with 'it's a relief to see that the Godaime's student retains class in her demeanor'. Sakura had wanted to send a fist straight to the man's face in defense of her mentor, but she settled giving him a polite smile while mentioning that her shishou had taught her how to be diplomatic especially to people who otherwise she'd rather strangle. There was an awkward pause in the dinner table broken only by Naruto confirming that Sakura wasn't one to hesitate in punching people when they're rude at the table— an experience he could easily relate to.
"Are you fit for another mission, Itachi?" Fugaku said over his cup of strong coffee. Sakura thought it no doubt tasted like caramel-covered rice dumplings filled with sweet bean paste for someone like him.
"Not yet, Father," Itachi answered as he paused from eating his rolled omelette. "I am advised to continue my rest today to ensure that my injuries are fully healed."
"It would have been ideal if it was attended to immediately," Fugaku said, and Sakura swore she'd buy her mentor the best sake her wallet could afford if the topic was changed immediately.
"I am to blame," Itachi said, and both Sakura and Sasuke glanced at each other and then at Sasuke's brother. "I refused to inform my medic that I was injured, and insisted that I did not need any medical assistance."
Fugaku regarded Itachi silently for a while, and Sakura was straining for what else the man would say regarding the matter.
"These injuries of yours," Fugaku Uchiha said. "I expect no reoccurrences."
"I understand, Father."
"Father, don't be so hard-headed with the injuries," Mikoto reprimanded the man. "Sakura did her best, and Itachi's all well and fine now."
"Mother," Fugaku looked hard at his wife.
"And Itachi is just as human as any one of us," Mikoto insisted. "He's allowed to make mistakes and get hurt."
"Injuries can cost the clan a leader. Need I remind you of the Uchiha clan's importance to the village?"
"Are you arguing with me, Fugaku?"
Sakura discreetly glanced at Sasuke, who was avoiding looking back at her. As the remaining pacifier of the family, Itachi turned to his parents.
"Mother, Father, we have a guest."
Mikoto blushed and profusely apologized to Sakura, who quickly shook her head and assured her that it was alright especially as even her parents had similar conversations over the dinner table.
Breakfast continued on in silence, save when Mikoto would offer— force— everyone to have second helpings of everything.
Sakura let out a sigh of relief once she was back in Itachi's room with both Itachi and Sasuke.
"Well that was interesting," Sakura said.
"Sakura," Sasuke said. "I hope this… doesn't reach other people. You know who I speak of, most especially."
"I dunno, Sasuke," Sakura said with a sneer. "I'm sure Naruto and Sai would love to hear what just happened, and shishou could get through a whole week of meetings with the Council Elders and your father with just that incident."
"Haruno," Itachi decided to let his presence known. "I am giving you half an hour to prepare for today's training session."
Sakura was staring at Itachi Uchiha for a whole second before she remembered her training schedule.
"See you later, Sasuke," she said as she exited through the shoji doors of Itachi's room and sped back to her apartment to have a quick shower, change of clothes, and fresh packs of weapons and medical supplies.
Despite knowing his injuries wouldn't hold back the Uchiha, Sakura actually now looked forward to her training.
: to be continued :
So. Sasuke (and Naruto) are back from their mission, Shisui's dropping hints but Sakura's too busy to care, and finally Itachi and Sakura are having a decent conversation.
I know being rough on a patient is a no-no (she even punched him lol) but Sakura is not Sakura without a little violence heheh
Let me know what you think :D