Title: Poison Brings Out the Best in Me
Summary: When Sakura is poisoned far out of the reach of any help, Sasuke is forced to question what he holds dearest to him.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Naruto. If I did, there would be baby Uchihas running around.
Author’s Note(s): Second multichap! I promise I’ll get either this or Chidorilator before beginning a new idea (minus finishing the SSM2014 prompts). Prepare for a multitude of Protective!Sasuke. Eventually M (*waggles eyebrows*) but not yet.
Glowing green chakra hovered over Sasuke’s arm, focusing on a particularly bad tear in his bicep. It was his only wound that had required healing; all others were superficial enough get cleaned and bound. Not that Sakura couldn’t have or didn’t want to heal them, but they all agreed it was best to reserve chakra for the long journey ahead of them. Besides, Sasuke was tough, and Naruto healed quickly (with his never-ending supply of Kyubbi chakra), so only serious wounds and ones impeding traveling were tended to.
As the skin reattached itself under Sakura’s steady hands, Sasuke felt the tension slowly leak out of his shoulders. While the wound wasn’t necessarily life-threatening, the amount of muscle that had been torn through by the jagged sword made it extremely painful.
Which is more than he could say for the rogue nin who had attacked them. Really, expecting four shinobi, jonin or not, to eliminate the three heroes of Konohagakure was laughable. The troubling part of the attack wasn’t the numbers in which it was received, but the mere existence of one.
Technically, this was a mission. Sakura, Naruto, and he had been nominated—because they hand pretty much ended the war single-handedly, and as such they were being masqueraded around as war heroes—to accept a diplomatic mission to Kirigakure aimed to establish a political alliance between the two nations. This in itself was a big deal due to the fact that Kirigakure had remained firmly uninvolved in political affairs since anyone could remember. Thankfully, it was mostly a formality, as forced sessions of diplomatic negotiations were far from his idea of even a decent time.
Still, the trio had set out to Konoha with a scroll containing highly classified medical information as a show of good will. During the ceremony, three of Kiri’s elders droned on for ages—Sakura had poked Naruto and him several times to keep them awake—about the traditions and prestige the two nations possessed, and what an glorious day—it had been raining—it was to see them united. In exchange for their scroll, Team 7 received—with much bowing and sake drinking and hand-shaking—a scroll detailing a technique the Mizukage believed Tsunade would find helpful.
Point being, for once in their ninja career, Sasuke, Sakura, and Naruto had not stolen a scroll. No one had died. No villages were leveled. No heart swaying speeches were delivered to enemies.
And still they had been attacked.
“Well, there we go!” Sakura clapped her hands together, “I think we’re ready to move out.”
“Finally!” Naruto exclaimed, jumping down from the tree branch he had been resting on, “I almost checked our packs again I was so bored.”
Rolling his eyes at the exuberant blonde, Sasuke stood up and rolled his shoulder experimentally. Noting nothing wrong, he continued to flex his muscles—all under a pair of critical viridian eyes. She didn’t have to speak for him to recognize the question behind her quirked eyebrow.
“All good,” he responded, grabbing his pack from Naruto, “Thanks.”
As always, the responding smile was immediate and warm. “No problem, Sasuke,” she waved him off with one hand and grabbed her pack with the other, “It’s my job.”
Despite the nonchalant words, Sakura’s cheeks were dusted with a light pink that caught Sasuke off guard. It had been a long time since she had shown anything more than comradeship towards him, and polite responses generally didn’t get this reaction from her. Perturbed, Sasuke chose to look anywhere other than his teammate. He had a mission to focus on.
He refused to acknowledge the heat that was rising in his cheeks.
“I’ll keep the scroll in my pack,” Sakura offered, “Standard formation, no breaks until dusk?”
Since her tone of voice betrayed nothing but professionalism, he decided it was safe enough to look back. Sure enough, while her cheeks were still pink, her eyes were focused. He met her eyes and nodded once before springing into the trees as point. Two clunks of heels against trees and an enthusiastic whoop from Naruto assured him they were close behind.
It had taken a year, but they were a team again, and for once, Sasuke wasn’t ashamed to admit he was content.