I don’t really remember all too well about what happened after Hidan’s torture. I think Sakura healed me and this bomber flew me to some town from where I should go to Konoha on my own. I jumped onto a carriage that was passing by and hopefully headed to the Leaf village. My feet still hurt too much to use them for travelling.
However, I was the whole time in kind of a numb daze. Maybe I had been foolish thinking that the time with Akatsuki wouldn’t change Kazumi, but I still was shocked when I thought about how she just let this psycho freak torture me. It felt like our friendship had meant nothing to her. The thought that she always had been deceiving me too came in my mind. Who knew, maybe she was working with Akatsuki for the whole time and I was the fool?
Whatever it was, I knew that our bond wasn’t there anymore. It was broken. Our friendship was over if she ever had existed.
I would come back to rescue Sakura and then I would beat some sense in Kazumi!
When I finally arrived at Konoha I walked straight to the Hokage tower. Luckily I didn’t come cross any of my friends. I wouldn’t have managed to talk to them now.
I knocked on the door and before old Tsunade could even answer it I entered.
“Hello…” I said weakly and tiredly. I definitely had enough of all this torture, being kidnapped and Akatsuki thing.
“Tora!” old Tsunade called out and quickly stood up to rush over to me just to catch me in time when my legs gave finally in. Carefully she sat me on the ground. “What happened? Where’s Sakura?”
“They kidnapped us… The Akatsuki I mean… They kept Sakura as bait for Naruto. She’ll die if he won’t let himself caught” I managed to say. My throat was still dry from screaming my lungs out while Hidan had used me as voodoo puppet.
“Dammit!” the Hokage yelled and her first cracked into the floor next to my body. I didn’t blame her as I wanted to do the same thing right now.
“Do you know where their hideout is?” she asked but I shook my head. “My memory isn’t the best and they flew me back so that I couldn’t sense anything. It was a cave in Rain Country though and Pain said that Naruto has to come alone and unarmed to Amegakure but he would know if we would plan anything and in this case Sakura… he would kill her.”
“Damn these Akatsuki bastards” she growled out. I could feel her despair, rage and anger and was just asking myself how this was supposed to end well.
“They… They gave me a paper, it should explain everything” I said and slipped my hand in my pocket to give old Tsunade a slightly wet paper.
There were some awkward moments of silence in which I became more and more nervous. I felt the aura around the Hokage darken and wondered what was written on the paper.
“Tora, I want you to go to the hospital and let Shizune treat your wounds. Tell her, and only her, that I’m off for some days. I have to do something important.” Her voice softened but I didn’t like her tone. It sounded like the last words of a person who had to do a big thing and didn’t know if she would come back.
“What… What’s going on?” I asked and there was a trace of fear in my voice. What was written on the paper, what else did the Akatsuki want?!
“It’s none of your business. Now go and don’t tell anyone about this, am I clear?!” I nodded and she helped me standing up just to push me out of her office. I stood there for some seconds, before I went to the hospital.
Please let this end well, was all I could think of.
When Itachi entered her room Kazumi lay on the mattress, staring on the ceiling. Ever since Sakura’s diagnose had destroyed even the little hope she had left she hadn’t come out of this room. She didn’t want this anymore. It was all just too much for her.
“Kazumi, I would like you to come with me” Itachi said in a firm voice that left no room for arguments. Slowly she lifted her head up to look at him.
“Hn. I’ll tell you on the way.” He looked so serious that she got up frowning and followed him without asking. They went through several hallways to one of the numerous exists. Itachi quickly undid the genjutsu and they walked into the dark grey surroundings of Rain Country.
“What are you up to?” Kazumi asked again confused but Itachi didn’t answer her but grabbed her arm and jumped onto a tree branch.
“We have to get away quickly before Zetsu will notice” he said as he hoped his genjutsu would deceive the spy.
“Where are we heading to?”
“The border between Konoha and Rain Country” he simply answered as they jumped into the growing night.
Unnoticed from anyone Tsunade slipped out of Konoha and into its surrounding forest. With a fiercely glare and gritted teeth she jumped from branch to branch.
Sakura… she thought. I’m coming. Just hold on a little longer.
She knew that if the council, if anyone would ever find out what she was just doing… they would strip her from her job as Hokage. They would disgrace her. But she couldn’t just sit back doing nothing, not when her student was in danger. She couldn’t lose another one, another one that was precious to here.
Nawaki, Dan… she couldn’t let it happen that Sakura would have the same faith like they had. She had accepted the job as Hokage to protect the people in this village with all her force, just like her little brother and her lover always had wanted to. She wanted to fulfil their dreams, but how could she do that if she would let her student that was about to become her legacy, die?
She gripped the little piece of paper tighter and just increased her speed, heading toward the border of the Rain Country.
Hang in Sakura, I will save you. Even if it’s going to be the most foolish thing I ever have done.
They waited for the fifth Hokage to come, standing under the roof of an old slightly broken house which marked the border to protect themselves from the rain.
Kazumi still couldn’t believe this; she couldn’t believe what Itachi has done for her. The scattered pieces of her destroyed hope had reattached again and even though they were still slightly cracked she dared to believe again that maybe, maybe this would work. That there was still some hope left.
Suddenly Itachi stiffened next to her and Kazumi also straightened up and stared into the darkness.
She could feel a chakra signature coming closer and after some moments she saw a figure running toward them.
Kazumi’s heart started to pound very loud and fast as she knew that this had to be the Hokage.
The woman was giving them cold death stares as she halted in front of Itachi and Kazumi who had stepped out from under the roof.
“What exactly do you scum want?” Tsunade growled out. Kazumi took a deep breath as she shut all of her emotions away so that the Hokage couldn’t see the hope but also fear in her eyes, answering: “You have to do something for us if you want your student to live.”
Tsunade only growled more and glared daggers at them. “Where is Sakura?” she asked spitting the words out with anger.
“She’s in our hideout, be sure that she is safe… for now” Kazumi replied. Itachi had decided to let her talk as he already had explained everything to her.
“I won’t do anything before she isn’t safe!”
“Wrong, your student won’t be free before you won’t heal my comrade.” At that Tsunade threw a quick surprised glance at Itachi, raising an eyebrow in question but she didn’t say anything.
“You’re known as the strongest medical kunoichi in ninja history. Itachi has a severe sickness and is about to go blind; treat and heal him and Sakura will be free.”
“Why should I believe you? According to Tora your Leader wants to use her to catch Naruto.”
Kazumi hesitated for a moment to answer and threw a quick glance at Itachi before she said: “Help us and we will help your student to escape regardless of what our Leader wants.”
Tsunade’s eyes widened slightly as she looked at both of them curiously and shocked. Kazumi bit her bottom lip nervously. Yes, they were officially going against Pain’s orders but who cared? Itachi would die anyway and she was also losing power since Masayoshi refused to help her. This was their last way out, their last way how they could survive this whole mess. Even though the consequences would be dramatic if Pain or Obito would ever find out.
But they had to risk it.
Surprisingly Tsunade said: “I understand. Very well, I will do it but if you betray me I won’t stop hunting you down until you lay dead at my feet, got it?”
They nodded and Itachi turned to walk into the little house, followed by Tsunade and Kazumi.
Before she entered though, Kazumi threw one last glance at the sky. Please let it work, she thought to no one in particular. Please let her being able to heal him…
With gritted teeth Tsunade hold her glowing hands over Itachi Uchiha’s chest. To say that his condition was bad was the understatement of the year. He actually was as good as dead; it was a miracle how he had survived through the last days!
She looked up at the girl who was leaning impatiently and nervously against the wall; Tsunade had told her to stand still after she had been pacing through the room the whole time, disturbing Tsunade’s concentration. This girl, Kazumi, the one Tora had told her was actually on their side and a spy, looked back and she could see so many emotions in her eyes – fear, hope, love, despair, faith, panic, horror… It surprised Tsunade to find such an emotional mix in a criminal’s eyes. They really had to like each other, what other reason would they have anyway to even go against their Leader’s order?
“His system is too damaged; I can’t heal him under these conditions. I need medicine and help. Only two miles away is a hospital, let us bring him to there and I can continue though there is no guarantee that this will work.”
With fearful eyes Kazumi looked at the unconscious body of Itachi, then back to Tsunade. To go into the hospital meant that Tsunade could get help, that they could betray them and that Itachi would never wake up again for sure-
“I still want Sakura free, remember this” Tsunade said anticipating the girl’s thoughts. Weakly Kazumi only nodded and together they lifted Itachi’s motionless body up and quickly made their way to the hospital.
The medics were surprised of the fact that the Hokage and most famous medic ninja visited their hospital but of course they helped them carry the Uchiha into surgery instantly. They put several seals on him after Tsunade had explained them shortly what they had to do. Kazumi had to wait outside while the best healers assembled in the room and sat down in a circle around the laying Itachi, linking their chakra with him.
Tsunade looked at the limp Akatsuki member. “You managed to survive until now, so don’t die on me now” she growled mumbling as she felt his heart beat getting slower and more unsteady with every minute. The truth was, that she really wanted to save this man by now, even though he was a killer, even though he was a missing ninja of Konoha, even though she actually should end his life right now… but instead she concentrated and pushed her chakra into his system.
Kazumi stood impatiently outside, pacing up and down the hallway. She felt completely sick in her stomach and thought she would vomit every second. Itachi was in this room right now, fighting for his life and she didn’t even know if the medics really tried to heal him or ended him for good.
For the fifth time she was about to enter the room but then just continued waiting. She needed to have faith in this woman, the only one who could heal her friend, no, lover, the only one who could save this tragedy!
The door opened and a medic rushed out, ignoring her completely but with a deep frown on his face. She knew that this didn’t mean anything good.
Tears built up in her eyes but all she could do was leaning against the wall, and hugging her body while she cried silently.
“Dammit!” Tsunade yelled looking at the heart monitor. Itachi’s heart had just stopped for a moment.
Several medics formed more seals or changed places with the exhausted ones.
“Ready!” a nurse called out as she hurried over with a bowl of steamed healing herbs.
“Give it to him quickly!” Tsunade ordered and the young woman held up Itachi’s head, making him drink and swallow the liquid.
Again his heart beat stopped.
“Continue, don’t stop healing! We can still make it!” Tsunade yelled and everyone in the room nodded with determination in their eyes, doing the best they could.
No one of them knew who the dying patient was, or why the Hokage and best medic ninja had appeared personally in their hospital; but they all knew that they had to save this man under all cost.
They wouldn’t let him die.