Itachi woke up to the repugnant, bleached smell of the hospital, he first inwardly breathed a sigh of relief. He'd made it home alive.

Everything that could go wrong on a mission had done so on his last assignment. He'd done everything he could to keep his team from as much harm as possible and had ordered retreat as soon as he'd deemed it safe. His injures had inevitably caught up with him, too far from home and he couldn't remember anything past the ground rushing up to meet him. His teammates must have brought him back. Though how they'd kept him alive, he couldn't say. He was the team medic, having taught himself some simple medical ninjutsu by observing med-nins, no one else on his team had the ability to heal.

Well, Genma was engaged to Shizune-san, so it wouldn't be too far fetched to assume that she'd taught him some things. Basic medical ninjutsu wasn't all that hard to master…. He probably shouldn't say that out loud, especially not in a hospital. Someone might take offense, and as much as he was loath to admit it, anything past a flesh wound and he wouldn't be able to heal it, either. It wouldn't do to have medics resent him and refuse to heal him like it had happened to his father when he'd insulted a young medic a couple of years ago and the next time he came in for treatment he was soundly denied and shown the door. Not to mention that Tsunade-sama had backed the medic and all his father got for his complaint was an additional scolding.

Of course, if Fugaku had been thinking rationally, he would have realized that Tsunade, being a medic herself, would of course be on the side of the medics. Unfortunately, his father was not exactly known for being rational. Quite the opposite, actually. Luckily, Itachi himself didn't suffer the same misfortunate flaw in character.

He had his own flaws, though. Not the time to be thinking about that.

His musings were interrupted by the sound of the door sliding open and hurried footsteps approaching his bed. In his weakened, half asleep state he could barely make out the chakra signature. Sasuke. And another one, more subdued, more controlled, unfamiliar to him. Whoever the person was, however, they had vast amounts of chakra. The only person Itachi had encountered with more chakra was Naruto-kun, who was a Jinchuuriki. Come to think of it, Tsunade-sama had vast amounts of chakra as well, just as tightly leashed. A medic? Probably. One of Tsunade's caliber? Not Shizune-san, though. Itachi was familiar with her chakra, and hers didn't remind him of her master. Wasn't there another apprentice? His brother's teammate?

He was getting a slight headache, and he realized he should probably stop thinking and try to sleep some more, when his brother's voice made him flinch.


Apparently, the concept of inside voices and hospital voices was lost on Sasuke.

"Sasuke!" a low, female, voice, growled quietly. "Don't be so loud! He needs to rest, don't wake him up!"

"But he's been asleep for a week now," Sasuke protested, not even a bit quieter. Sometimes, Itachi really loathed having spoiled Sasuke so damn much. Nothing good ever came out of spoiled children, his grandfather used to say. He was right.

"He was also mostly dead when I came upon them. If I hadn't activated my seal and poured every last bit of chakra into him, your brother would be a memory today. So, do me a favor and stop trying to do my job," the medic hissed. "He'll wake up when his body decides it's had enough time to heal from the sever trauma he'd suffered and not a minute sooner and frankly, the only thing your whining can do is piss me off. So, either be quiet or get out of my hospital."

"It's hardly your hospital, Sakura," came Sasuke's derisive answer, again, not any quieter and Itachi wished he could move, or speak. He was undecided if he wanted to smack Sasuke or say a couple of choice words.

'Sakura' didn't have his troubles. "Don't think I won't throw you out, asshole. Through the window if I need to. You're disturbing a critical patient and you're really getting on my nerves here, Sasuke. I've been working for 24 hours straight at this point, the last time I ate was probably more then 48 hours ago and I had less than 3 hours of sleep in the last 72 hours. Go ahead, annoy me some more, see how you like the consequences. Personally, I'm gonna enjoy punting your ass clean across the village."

Tsunade's apprentice no doubt. They even had the same temper. That was a vaguely terrifying thought.

His brother gave a harried sigh, and Itachi heard his footsteps going away from the bed. "You used to be nicer, Sakura," Sasuke muttered, finally quiet. The medic sighed too.

"I also used to be an idiot," she replied. "We all grow up, Sasuke. You should look into it."

"Why do you hate me?" Sasuke asked after a longer pause.

"I don't hate you, Sasuke. You're my teammate, you're important to me. I love you just like I love Naruto, or Sai." A slight pause. "Or Kakashi."

Sasuke had picked up on the pause as well. "Huh. No need to lie. We both know you don't love anyone quite the way you love Kakashi."

"I don't see how that's any of your business," she replied harshly, but still only whispering.

"You used to love me that way once," Sasuke taunted slightly. "That makes it my business."

"Not hardly," her answer was haughty. "I never loved you that way, I was just blindly and stupidly infatuated. I grew out of it. And moved on."

Itachi could almost hear the unsaid words. 'To something better.'

"Whatever. You're as annoying as always," Sasuke finally retorted and Itachi head the door slide open and shut, leaving him alone with the temperamental medic. If she was anything like Tsunade, she wouldn't be a problem. The Hokage was pretty docile if you didn't rub her the wrong way. Not that he needed to worry, either way. For all she knew he was fast asleep. He still couldn't move, and his eyes still refused to as much as twitch no matter how hard he tried to open them. Just how badly had he been hurt?

Lost in thoughts about the injuries that put him in this rather questionable situation, Itachi startled and would have twitched if able to when pink hair and green eyes suddenly filled his field of vision.

No matter how hard he'd tried to open his eyes, they'd refused to budge, but the second he stopped trying they opened without him noticing. Go figure.

"Ah, Uchiha-san," she soothed. "Good morning. Well, evening, but still. How are you feeling?"

Unsure if he even could speak, Itachi decided to just be straight forward. "Alive." His voice came out low, raspy and weak.

"That's a good thing, right?" the bright girl smiled and walked around his bed to look at the machines hooked to him. For a few minutes she scribbled something on a chart while he unashamedly stared. Then she walked across the room and started to prepare an injection. Doing this, she started talking again in that low, soothing voice.

"You were pretty badly poisoned. Aside from that the weapons you were injured with were coated in some kind of anti-coagulant and a paralyzing agent. For all intents and purposes, you were as good as dead the moment you passed out. You were extremely lucky though that I happened upon your team when I did. It took all of my chakra and I had enough stored to heal this entire village, to bring you back. In fact, and I'm counting on you to keep this to yourself, I even had to use my life-force. Had I been any other medic, even Shizune-san, you would have died. I've gotten rid of the poison the old-fashioned way, I couldn't risk extracting or burning it out, your body wouldn't have been able to handle the strain. The anti-coagulant only works on surface of the wounds and that was easily taken care of. You still can't move because your body can't fight the paralysis and I can't do anything to help, either. Don't worry though, it will wear off sooner or later. In the meantime, you need rest."

She had returned to his bedside by then and he watched as she plunged the needle of the injection into his IV tube. He didn't need to ask to know it was a sedative.

"Sleep tight and get better, it's the least you can do to repay me for saving you," she smiled, and it was the last thing he saw as his eyes closed without his permission.

What an interesting girl, he thought drowsily, dimly noting that he really wouldn't mind getting to know her better.

AN: Just a random one-shot. Left open-ended so you can imagine where this goes however you want.

Light Sasuke bashing…. I had a bad day and I had to take it out on somebody.

Mention of KakaSaku. Totally one-sided in this one. Sakura has a huge old crush on her former sensei, his feelings are totally platonic… You have no idea how it hurts to write that, lol.

If you guys have any kind of theme you'd like to see me write, I'm open for suggestions.