My job is to make sure you don't die before you do what we can't.

-&…&-

Sakura paced back and forth across her living room floor, her hands itching to grab a kunei from the hidden pouch under her medic skirt.

'I should send for the anbu.'

Sakura sent a glance at the man who was sitting on the couch just staring at her, honestly what was with men breaking into her apartment. Her teammates did it constantly, Lee did it, and now S-class missing-nin were doing it, she really needed to buy a better lock, because this was getting ridiculous.

'No scratch that I should send for Tsunade.'

Sakura sent another glance at the silent man to make sure he wasn't preparing an attack, not that she would stand much of a chance against the Sharingan, she may be an chunin level ninja going on jounin but she held no allusions that she could best the Sharingan, hell ninja had been trying to do that for years and they still failed.

"Haruno-san you can stop glancing at me every few seconds I'm not going to activate the Sharingan, it would do more harm than good."

Sakura glanced at him before letting out an aggravated sigh. She glared at him "I hate you, you have no clue how much I hate you, what you did, and that fucked up organization you work for."

Itachi merely glanced at her before nodding "that's fine Haruno-san, I've come to expect that."

Sakura narrowed her eyes to feral slits "what the fuck do you want with me Uchiha, because if you don't give me a good reason I'm calling the anbu and you can spend the rest of you pathetic life in a prison cell."

Itachi was about to reply when his eyes bulged and he bent over his head nearly between his knees. Sakura winced at the wet hacking coughs that followed and the blood that soon began to seep through his fingers, however she glared at him when she got an inkling of why he was truly here.

Finally Itachi sat back up and Sakura immediately moved over to her wall and grabbed the katana that rested there unsheathing it she stood in a defensive stance ready for whatever he threw at her. Sakura's eyes moved a mile a minute, it wouldn't do well to have a full on battle in her living room she'd have to get him outside somehow….

"I'm not going with you Uchiha, I'll kill myself before I let you take me with you, my loyalties lie forever in Kohana, I couldn't betray Naruto, my friends, and my home by leaving with you, it would be unacceptable."

Itachi smirked "that's exactly what I wanted to hear Haruno-san" he paused "you can lower the Katana now I'm not going to attack you."

Sakura narrowed her eyes but lowered her weapon and stepped out of her defensive crouch "it's obvious why you're here, the real question is why you came to me instead of someone else, why not go to someone within your own cursed organization?"

Itachi sighed, she honestly hated him, and he didn't blame her, to her he was a murderer, a missing-nin, and the enemy, and not for the first time Itachi wondered what his life would have been like if people really knew what happened all those years ago.

Would people who didn't even know him hate him? Would he have to go to such great lengths even to find a medic? Would Sasuke still be out for revenge? Would things be different? He liked to believe so, but he supposed he would never know, not in this life time anyway, still it was a thought that actively occupied his mind on a regular basis.

"You are the best are you not, Haruno-san?" Sakura didn't know if she should balk at the compliment or accept it, she settled for the truth "no that's my sensei and that will never change, but I suppose I should be true to my word."

She sighed "fine I'll do my best to find out what's wrong with you" she pierced her lips "but then you'll get the hell out of my apartment and never come back understood?"

Itachi nodded.

Sakura moved over to a small table before pulling out a door, she rummaged around before coming out with a stethoscope that probably had seen better days, but would serve its purpose fine.

Sakura sat down on her coffee table and crossed her legs before placing the stethoscope in her ears before looking at Itachi with expecting eyes. Finally Sakura sighed "remove you Akatsuki cloak please, along with you shirt so I can examine you."

Itachi glared at her and Sakura threw her hands up in the air in exasperation "seriously you came to me; I'm a medic Uchiha, not a fan-girl, now take them off, or leave."

Finally Itachi sighed and removed his cloak and shirt, Sakura smirked (Sakura: 1 Itachi: 0) before placing the cool metal against Itachi's chest. His heart was strong if not at least a bit irregular but that could be due to many things, things she would have to explore I she was to diagnose him.

"Breathe nice and deep for me please" Itachi complied but what Sakura heard worried her. Itachi couldn't get a good breathe in and she supposed by what she heard he hadn't for some time, also it sounded like there was fluid that rattled when he breathed, he'd coughed up blood maybe that was the cause?

Finally she pulled back and removed the stethoscope from her ears and uncrossed her legs "well your heart is irregular which worries me, but the way your lungs sound worries me more, however before I go any farther I would like you to describe any other symptoms you are having."

Sakura picked up a piece of paper and a pen before motioning for him to speak, Itachi hesitated "coughing and vomiting up blood, chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue." Sakura nodded her mind already racing with possibilities….

When she noticed something odd, Itachi's eyes kept squinting up every now and then as if he couldn't focus. "I wonder…" Sakura held up a finger "Itachi please follow my finger with your eyes" She then moved her finger from one side of the room to the next.

What she saw conformed her assumptions, and she almost laughed at the irony, Itachi Uchiha of the Uchiha clan that was famed for the Sharingan couldn't see properly. She almost suggested he get glasses, but she wasn't that reckless.

"You're going blind."

"Hn"

Sakura laughed humorlessly "you're so like him it's not even funny, he never responded with anything else then "hn" "you're annoying" and his favorite "you're weak."

Itachi narrowed his eyes, "what was the relationship between you and my little brother?"

Sakura laughed again "he was my teammate, my friend, he was an enigma and I just…had to figure out, at one point I thought he was my future, I thought he was a part of us forever…he was my…."

She trailed off and Itachi realized something he should have realized from the very beginning.

"You loved him didn't you."

It was the farthest thing from a question.

Sakura laughed again "yeah I did, I loved him so much it hurt, but he left me, he left our team, he left everything, he left all of us, and it killed me, it killed Naruto. He left me on a fucking bench in the middle of the night because I was foolish enough to think that I could stop him from chasing after YOU!"

Itachi sighed his eyes closing momentarily, before turning to stare at her "my foolish brother leaving you has nothing to do with me."

Sakura laughed "really? You really believe that? Actions have reactions Uchiha, I'll admit I don't know what went down that night all that well, but I do know enough to know that your actions screwed Sasuke up. It was all your actions that set him on the path he choice the night he left."

"It has everything to do with you Itachi, it was your actions that fucked Sasuke up so royally, it was you."

Itachi lowered his head, he couldn't reply, didn't know how.

After all he supposed every poison laced word was the whole and unadulterated truth.

-&…&-

Itachi woke up some time later that night to the sound of murmuring voices coming from down the hall.

"…No….he's past the point of….just no…"

"But Sakura-chan…..don't you…."

"I'm sorry…I can't that's not fair…"

"BUT…."

"HE TRIED TO KILL YOU!"

Itachi winced at the loud screech and the bang that followed, and quickly shot out of the bed (he almost questioned how he got there, but decided it was better left unknown.) it was best that Sakura didn't die, not that he was sure whoever was with her was trying to readily kill her but it never hurt to be cautious.

Itachi slinked down the hallway with the grace of a feline, he stayed close to the shadows to better his chances of going unnoticed he also quickly masked his chakra, finally he made it to the end of the hallway.

He could see light spilling forth from the living room and he moved a bit closer, just enough to hear and see but not enough that the same could be said for him.

"Naruto" Sakura's voice softened "he's not our Sasuke anymore, he tried to kill you four times now, and he would have killed me to if I hadn't been able to use a transportation jutsu, he's not Sasuke-kun, he's not a part of team seven anymore, perhaps it's time Naruto, to just count our losses"

Naruto growled a feral sound his blue irises tinted red "Sakura-chan you loved him, how can you give up on him?"

Sakura sighed and placed both hands on Naruto's shoulders and looked up at his wild face "Naruto, he's not the same, I don't think I could ever give up on him completely, but I'm worried, I can't let you two fight to the death."

Naruto took a step back "Sakura-chan you…"

Sakura looked at him "I'm selfish okay? I can't let the two of you fight, not to the death like you were prepared to do on the hospital roof top years ago. Do you have any clue how much that terrified me? I love you Naruto, you're like my brother and I just can't lose you."

Naruto sighed and drew Sakura into his arms "Oh Sakura-chan, I won't leave you okay? But don't give up on the damn Teme quite yet give it a little longer."

Sakura sighed "Naruto...I just don't…..fine…"

"Thank you Sakura-chan, you'll see I'll bring the teme back to Kohana, it's the promise of a life time, believe it!"

Sakura chuckled "come on you lovely Baka, you better go home it's late."

Sakura and Naruto chuckled and she led him to the front door and said goodbye.

It was only when she was sure he was out of hearing range that she let out a frustrated yell and slammed her fist against the wall, plaster and paint splintering under her iron fists. Finally she stopped pounding and turned to him "you can come out Uchiha, I know your there."

Itachi gradually stepped into the light before turning to her "I'm sorry" Sakura looked up in surprise "what do you have to be sorry about" Itachi sighed "I apologize that my foolish little brother attacked Uzumaki-san and you."

Sakura shook her head "don't be."

Itachi pieced his lips together before stepping forward "Haruno-san is there a reason Uzumaki-san was in your apartment?" Sakura sighed and sank into the couch before motioning for him to sit. He hesitated but complied.

"Long story short, I've been avoiding Naruto for awhile just to avoid this conversation, him and I don't see eye to eye on the problems that Sasuke raised on our last mission." Itachi raised his eyebrows "What problems, Haruno-san?"

Sakura sighed and rubbed her temples "he tried to kill us again, Naruto still believes that it wasn't Sasuke, but I saw his eyes, I know those eyes, it was Sasuke, a changed and darker Sasuke then we used to know, but still very much Sasuke."

"He's already tried to kill Naruto more than once, I'm afraid that one of these day's he'll finally do it, and I won't be there to fix the damage my stupid idiotic boys have created."

Itachi raised his eyebrows "Fix the damage?" Sakura sighed "I suppose that's not the right analogy, but Naruto and Sasuke" she hesitated "their brash and rush into things without thinking, they let their emotions control them, Sasuke with hate and Naruto with every emotion he has."

"I love them, but they make a mess of the simplest of things."

Sakura sighed ready for a subject change "anyway I was flipping through some books before Naruto managed to break in again" she paused "I need to buy a better lock, but anyway can I take a closer look at your lungs and heart?"

Itachi cocked his head to the side "how Haruno-san?" Sakura sighed "with my chakra, I won't do any actual healing unless it's absolutely needed, it might make things worse if I was to start healing without an actual diagnosis."

Itachi nodded before shedding the blue shirt he was wearing and motioned for her to precede. Sakura nodded took a deep breath and laid glowing green hands on his chest.

Sakura sighed and closed her eyes. Using her chakra as her eyes, she moved her hands over is heart and began her examination. There were some minor tears and bleeds but the muscle itself wasn't terribly damaged.

"Itachi there are some minor tears in the muscle of your heart I'm going to try and heal them."

Itachi nodded and winced at the sensation, it wasn't unpleasant but it felt strange like someone was gently tugging and constricting his chest coupled with the strange warm light that her chakra resonated it was an odd feeling.

Sakura finished with her examination of his heart and moved onto his lungs. They were what worried her the most, the rattling breaths were worrisome in themselves but coupled with the blood; it could be a very dangerous and deadly situation.

"I'm going to try and heal some of the bleeds in your lungs as well, perhaps then you'll be able to breathe easier."

Finally half an hour later Sakura sat back and wiped her brow "well I think I got them all, but tell me if it gets any worse."

Itachi nodded his eyes starting to slide closed, Sakura laughed "tired? Go to sleep I'll put a quick genjutsu over the bedroom door so people won't be able to bother you."

Itachi looked at her in surprise and Sakura laughed again "don't look so surprised really, I might get the impression you think I'm weak" Itachi started to deny the statement but Sakura waved it off "don't worry it's fine, you know I may not be a prodigy like Sasuke, or have limitless chakra like Naruto but I did have the best chakra control of my team along with being the best at genjutsu."

Itachi nodded and stood, he caste a final glance at the pinkette as he disappeared down the hallway, she had swung her legs up on the couch and was flipping through a large book writing things down every now and again.

And even though his eyes weren't the best he could see the slight smile on her face, perhaps she still didn't trust him, but he knew she would do everything within her power to help him, he knew he made the right choice.

And within the confines of a warm bed in Sakura's green guest bedroom, Itachi slept, and for the first time in a long while there were no nightmares.

-&…&-

Itachi left one week later. Only to return two months later in worse condition.

-&…&-

Sakura stormed into her apartment.

"Itachi fucking Uchiha get your ass out here!"

Itachi looked up from the scroll and stared at her. "WHAT THE FUCK WHERE YOU THINKING ACCEPTING A MISSION LIKE THAT!"

Itachi's heart sank.

"What are you talking about Sakura-san?"

"Oh you know what I'm talking about, now answer the question!"

Itachi sighed and set down the scroll before motioning for her to sit, Sakura complied before laying her head in her hands "I just don't get it…."

Itachi sighed, he never wanted to have to explain this to anyone but it would appear that this little Kunoichi had done what none had done before, she had discovered one of Kohana's most guarded secrets, and his own personal hell.

"I suppose you know what happened Sakura-san?"

Sakura nodded her anger having disappeared leaving behind just a strange tiredness and she wondered if Itachi felt like this every single day. "I don't understand why you can't tell Sasuke though; god knows it would probably save you both."

Itachi sighed "I already thought this through six years ago Sakura-san; if I was to tell him my dear foolish little brother then he would most likely turn against Kohana."

Sakura sighed "I wish I could deny your right, but with Sasuke's resent activity I can't. But damn it Itachi it isn't fair, it just isn't."

Itachi ran a hand through his hair pushing the bangs behind his ears "No perhaps not but it's the hand life dealt me in the scheme of things and it preserved peace in Kohana and the shinobi world, that was all I could hope for."

Sakura sighed and instead of saying anything more she leaned over and wrapped her arms around his middle. "I'm sorry…."

Itachi's eyes widened, before softening, he wrapped his arms around her as well and leaned his head on top of hers, she smelled like strawberries and rain, and Itachi closed his eyes.

-&…&-

Sakura held back the pieces of hair that escaped Itachi's ponytail, all the while rubbing the spot between his shoulder blades trying to ease some off the tension that resided there.

Itachi coughed again staining the toilet water a disgusting pink.

'Damn it he's not improving with the new medication, I thought with the new combination he might be able to go back into remission, perhaps for a few more years, but he seems to be getting worse, perhaps I should tweak it again?'

Sakura was startled out of her thoughts by Itachi "Sakura?" she sighed and scooted back so he could lay in her lap, she handed him a wet clothe which he used to wipe the blood from his mouth. Sakura gently starting to card her fingers through his hair in a slow repetitive motion in the hopes to calm him down enough for sleep.

"You worried."

Sakura sighed and looked down at him he was beyond pale so much so that she could see the small blue veins running across his forehead he looked exhausted and Sakura was at a loss as what she could do anymore to help.

"Yes I am, very much so, you're not responding to treatment Itachi, I suppose I could try to tweak you're medication again but even that's a long shot, but honestly I'm at a loss of what I can do to help you anymore."

Itachi sighed and she winced at how the breathe wheezed out. "You've done your best Sakura, I can't fault you, but perhaps it's time for me to seek out my brother?"

Sakura immediately stiffened.

"Itachi, you'll be walking into your own death, you can't fight like this, your strong but this, this is like suicide." Itachi was quite for a moment before he spoke "not suicide, but a sacrifice."

Sakura didn't know what to say.

"You've been planning this since the beginnings haven't you, I thought I knew it all but you held out one detail didn't you, you've been planning to let Sasuke KILL YOU ALL ALONG, HUH? HAVEN'T YOU?"

Itachi winced at her volume but nodded "he needs it Sakura."

"But you don't need to live?"

"No."

"So you are suicidal?"

Itachi sighed "No…just realistic, you haven't said it to me yet, but I know it as well as you do, Sakura I'm dying, I won't last more than a year two at most, why can't I give Sasuke the peace of mind of knowing he's gotten the revenge he's craved for so long?"

"BECAUSE YOU HAD NO CHOICE IT WAS THAT OR A CIVAL WAR!"

"But I did have a choice Sakura, I choice to preserve peace, doing so means that my family's blood stain's my hands, it also means that Sasuke's rage is not unplaced, just because I had to, does not change the fact that they died by my hands."

"You feel guilty."

Itachi nodded briefly "yes I do, immensely so."

"You're going no matter what I say aren't you?"

Itachi nodded "yes."

Sakura sighed and continued to card her hands through his hair and was rewarded by the Itachi's eyes sliding closed and his even breathing, or at least as even as it could be with the ever present wheeze.

Sighing she gently lifted him into her arms before carrying him into the bed room laying him down on the bed she covered him up with the two thick comforters. When she was sure he was going to stay asleep she slipped out and headed back to the living room she sat down amongst her medical texts.

'My job is to make sure you don't die , before you do what we can't.' That used to be her motivation but now, now, she was motivated by the sheer need to help Itachi, because she doubted anyone cared about him, and she needed to help him.

He was her friend, and she could never no matter the circumstances not help a friend.

With that in mind she dived head first into the medical texts.

-&…&-

Sakura woke up three weeks later to a letter.

Dear Sakura,

I'm sorry I left without saying goodbye to you.

However I had to go now, Sasuke is coming for me, and if I had waited any longer I doubt I would have been able to make the fight even half believable for Sasuke, who needs this.

I know you do not understand, why I have to do this, but let me ask you this, if your sister needed something so badly that she was half crazed, would you help her? Would you go to the edge of the earth and back for her?

I know you would Sakura, so please don't question my choice of doing this for Sasuke. The bond of a sibling is something that can't be broken by time; I once promised Sasuke I would be there for him, and that I would protect him.

I'm keeping that promise Sakura, just as you would do for your own sister. I'm sure you understand as you are an older sibling as well.

Sakura I want to thank you for all the help you've been. I doubt I would have survived as long as I have if it wasn't for you. I also want to thank you for being so persistent in you care, I don't doubt that you will be still researching even after I'm long gone.

I also must thank you for being my friend, something I think I will always be indebted to you for.

Goodbye for now Sakura.

With well wishes,

Uchiha, Itachi

And Sakura didn't notice how wet the paper had become until she couldn't read the words that Itachi had so carefully written.

-END -

A/N part of my Itachi Uchiha project over on DeviantArt, there is another version of this that i'm writing and hope to be able to finish soon