Chapter 9

The next two days of travelling went generally well for the ninja squad sent to help out Gaara. There were a few awkward moments -both mornings found Amejisuto cuddled up to someone, namely Sakura one night and Itachi the other, to her embarrassment and Kakashi's amusement- but otherwise, they rushed forward without any problems. No ninja attacked them, making the journey smoother. By the time they reached Sunagakure, they could tell that everyone was in a panic. Temari, Gaara's sister, greeted them and led them to a hospital.

"We have so many problems right now," she sighed. "Gaara's been captured by the Akatsuki and the council members are almost convinced it's a lost cause to wait for his return, so they might elect another Kazekage. And then there's this," she pulled open a door in the hospital, leading Sakura to gasp and run to the patients side. It was Kankuro, twitching and gasping in immense pain.

"Get a tub of saline immediately!" she ordered.

"And who are you?" a doctor scoffed.

"Sakura Haruno, apprentice to the Hokage Tsunade," she answered.

"You couldn't possibly be able to heal this boy. Not even Lady Chiyo could, and she's the best medic in Sunagakure!"

Sakura put her hair up in a ponytail and slipped off her fighting gloves before washing her hands. "Just watch me," she growled.

The doctors looked to Temari, who nodded, and fetched a tub of saline, setting it next to the kunoichi. "Keep those coming," she said before opening Kankuro's eye. "Pupils dilated," she took a stethoscope and listened to his lungs. "Rapid breathing," she clutched his hand. "Spasms." She turned to the bucket of saline and attached her chakra to it, letting it swirl in a bubble beneath her hands. "He has a steel type poisoning in him. It shuts down organs first and then blood stops flowing to the heart. I have just enough time to stall it before making an antidote," she explained.

She pushed the saline through his skin, leading it with her chakra. 'Find the poison, capture it in the saline, guide it out,' she thought to herself. She had to order the other doctors to hold him down since he was struggling and writhing from the pain now. She let the saline stream out, following her hand to the tub before it splashed in. Everyone saw as there was a few purple dots mixed with the light blue liquid.

The others watched in awe as she did that on all other major organs. An old lady sat next to them, grumbling to herself. "She reminds me of the slug princess," she mumbled.

"Well Granny Tsunade was Sakura's mentor," Naruto smiled. "I'm Naruto Uzumaki, That's Sakura Haruno," he pointed at the rosette.

"I'm Amejisuto Ishi,” the brunette beamed.

"Itachi Uchiha," the older raven said.

"Sasuke Uchiha."

"Ka-" Kakashi didn't get to finish before the woman attacked him, punching and kicking, spitting curses at him.

"You killed my son, you devil! Evil White Fang! He didn't have to die! Why are you still here? I thought you committed suicide years ago!" she screamed at him. Kakashi didn't know what to do. He wouldn't fight back against an old lady, and he didn't have any chance to correct her. All he could do was block and try to put up with her. An old man ran on the scene and held her back.

"The man who killed your son is dead and has been for over twenty years," the man managed to say. The woman stopped fighting and smiled.

"In that case, never mind," she sat down again.

"I'm Kakashi Hatake. You might've been talking about my father," the Jonin said, still trying to process what happened. Apparently, it didn't occur to Naruto that his sensei could have a family, due to his reaction of yelling 'Kakashi had a dad?!' Leading Sasuke to sigh and call him an idiot.

"I'm Chiyo, a village elder. This is my brother, Ebizo," the woman laughed.

"Most people forget my name and just calls me grandfather or old man, so feel free to as well," he grinned.

"The poison has been reduced. Now there are only a few traces and I have to make an antidote," Sakura announced, to everyone's astonishment, especially Chiyo's.

"The greenhouse has many medicinal herbs. We will escort you," the doctors said, leading Sakura down the hall and out of the hospital.

"I think she's surpassed the slug princess," Chiyo sighed in disbelief. "She's definitely surpassed me."

They sat around chatting for another half an hour. "Guys, I think he's waking up!" Temari shouted excitedly. Everyone ran into the hospital room to greet him. "Who did this to you?" his sister asked.

"S-Saso-ri of the r-red sand," the brunet choked. Temari handed him some water and he drank it greedily.

"He... He can't have," Chiyo gasped. "I thought you fought an Akatsuki member!"

"He is one," Kankuro said weakly.

"My grandson wouldn't even stoop this low!"

"Grandson?" Naruto asked.

Chiyo didn't answer and just stormed out of the hospital with her brother following her, flashing an apologetic expression to the Konoha ninja. "Well, someone's moody," Sasuke mumbled.

"Speak for yourself, bastard!"

"Moron, don't start a fight in a hospital."


"Calm down, idiot. You're being too loud."

"I'M BEING PERFECTLY QUIET!" Naruto shouted before falling over with a bump growing out of his head and a furious Sakura standing behind him with her fist raised.

"Do you ever shut up? We're in a hospital! Be more respectful, idiot!" She said in a threatening tone.

"Sakura," he whimpered.

"I made the antidote. I also made two more just in case we run into him, which is a high probability," she went to Kankuro and gave him a shot.

"Let me go with you to get Gaara," he begged.

"No, you're too weak. Even I'm not going. I have an election to postpone until he gets back," Temari said, pushing Kankuro on the bed when he tried to get up.

The Konoha ninja were ready to leave the village, when Chiyo showed up. "I'm coming with you," she announced.

"Alright," Kakashi said, knowing he couldn't go against the woman. She would just hit him again...

They ran across the desert, following ninja hounds that Kakashi had summoned. They were tracking down the scent of Sasori from the sample that Kankuro managed to capture.

"So which one of them will you marry?" Chiyo asked Amejisuto, pointing to the Uchiha brothers. The Ishi blushed and almost tripped.

"Neither, I'm just an Uchiha apprentice," the brunette explained. “Why?”

"Hm, I was curious, and it’s practically unheard of for Uchiha’s and other clans to interact so personally without any intent on marriage. You seem closer to the older one though."

"Yah, he's my sensei. They were both close friends at one point though."

"Very interesting," Chiyo moved on to Naruto, asking questions on why he was so intent on finding Gaara.

"She's the type of person to probe into other people's lives and question everything. More in a pessimistic way, it seems," Itachi suddenly appeared at the Ishi's side.

"Itachi, people constantly ask if I'm married or adopted. It's annoying," she sighed.

"Maybe you should wear a sign that says 'not an Uchiha'," he joked.

"Hah, hah, hah," Amejisuto rolled her eyes. "Then everyone would be after me. I like that boys leave me alone in the fear of dealing with you. I'm not really into any of them and it is hard rejecting them as politely as I can all the time."

Itachi silently thanked god as he heard that. There was a chance that she wouldn’t end up being ripped away from someone she loved. He then shook his head to clear away those thoughts; he should be putting the mission first. It was time to save the Kazekage.

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