A Second Chance - Chapter 62 - Invisibleninja12 (2024)

Chapter Text

Sakura sat at home enjoying a hastily crafted sandwich at her parents’ new dining table. It smelled of freshly cut wood, and she enjoyed the unfamiliar layout of things. It was fun if she imagined they had simply moved, rather than lost everything due to a ninja attack…

“Hey, Sweetie, you want some of this custard cake? I got it from the new market across the street,” Mebuki said, entering the kitchen with grocery bags.

“Sure,” Sakura replied, “I’ll have to hurry though, I’m starting my hospital shift.”

Before her mother could cut into the cake, someone aggressively knocked on their front door.

“Now who is this?” Mebuki sighed, setting down her knife. She walked back from where she came and opened the door- it was a medic.

“It’s Lady Tsunade! She’s awake!”

Sakura choked on her sandwich.


She tumbled out of her seat and frantically pulled her boots on.

“Oh Sakura, I’m so happy to hear!” her mom said.

“Save me some cake, ok?”

Before she knew it, she had rushed into the building the Hokage was in. She could hear her voice from down the hall, barking orders. Her eyes welled with tears, and she ran to the sound. As soon as she opened the door and her eyes fell on her master’s form, she jumped down to cry in her arms.

“Oh, Sakura…” Tsunade said, amazed by the swiftness with which her student had practically knocked her over. She heard crying over her shoulder and she smiled, returning the girl’s embrace.

“I’m so happy you’re all right,” Sakura cried, clinging to her as though she were a child. “It’s been so hard!”

Tsunade patted her back while she sniffled. All of the sorrow Sakura had been storing inside her leaked out, and Tsuande was touched by her whirlwind of of emotions.

“Of course I’m all right,” Tsunade stated with a knowing smile, ignoring a slight lump in her own throat. “I will feel better when they finally give me something to eat!”

“They are working on it, My Lady!” Shizune said, holding Ton Ton in her arms.

“Why weren’t they prepared? If they don’t hurry, my chakra won’t replenish enough!” Tsunade yelled. Sakura laughed at Shizune’s exhaustion with the newly awoken Hokage. She sat up and wiped her eyes, her chest much lighter than before. Now that Lady Tsunade was safe, everything from Pain’s attack had been resolved. Sakura felt a sense of peace, and she steadied herself with a controlled breath.

“How is everything?” Tsunade suddenly asked. Sakura realized she was talking to her.

“Well, a lot has happened, but everything worked out…”

“Other than the war,” Tsunade scowled. Shizune nervously giggled, as though she were being blamed for the news. Sakura looked over at her, and Shizune gave her a look.

“Tell her the other thing,” Shizune said, and Sakura gulped.

“What?” Tsunade scowled.

“Oh, well…” Sakura started, now sweating. She had hoped someone else had told her already. She was ecstatic about the news, so she arrived too early! Now she had to tell her about Sasori!?

She took a deep breath, and prayed.

“So, this all worked out, just so you know. If anything, it has been a plus,” Sakura started. Tsunade frowned.

“Spit it out!”

“I… took in Sasori last October. That artist I mentioned… that was him. But it’s not the one from when Gaara was kidnapped, he’s a younger version, and he became Sai’s roommate, and yes, I hid him from everyone, but it was because he wasn’t a threat, which I was right about, so it’s not even a problem-“

“Who?” Tsunade interrupted, visibly confused.

“Sasori, from the Akatsuki,” Shizune said. Sakura cursed at her for putting it that way.


“No, not the one from the Akatsuki, this one time traveled,” Sakura corrected her.

Tsunade sat in silence.

“I need to eat before I hear anything more,” she complained. Sakura sheepishly grinned.

“I know, it’s a long story, and I’m really sorry I hid this from you, and it really bothered me, believe me, but I was worried about the elders…”

Just then, a man arrived with a tray of food, and Tsunade practically shoved her out of the way. Sakura watched, amazed, as her master immediately plunged into the dishes without another word.

“Continue,” Tsunade barked, ripping apart a chicken leg with her teeth.

“Um, well… He saved people during Pain’s attack, and was kept as a prisoner until today. He’s an ally of the Leaf now, so you don’t need to worry about him.”

Tsunade took an impossibly long gulp of water and continued to chow down.

“He time traveled?” Tsunade questioned, her mouth full.

“Uh, yeah. We think it was a chakra anomaly from the abandoned lot by where the ice cream shop was? He was delivering some message to the Third Hokage when he traveled 20 years into the future, so he’s not a criminal. He’s helped out a lot, and well, he’s been training me too…”

Tsunade finished her whole roasted chicken and moved onto some soup, taking the whole bowl’s worth of content down her gullet without effort.

“Training?” she echoed, her speech muffled.

“Yeah, I’ve been working on my taijutsu with him… and he taught me genjutsu too. Oh, and I’ve been dying to tell you this since I got it, but I’ve been doing research on his Core of Living Flesh, which he gifted to me, but I’m struggling to make a breakthrough with it, and I want your help.”

Shiuzne watched this strange exchange with anxiety, waiting for the yelling to start, but it surprisingly never came. Instead, Tsunade took a large swig of wine and calmly wiped her mouth with relief.

“This is all true?”

“Yes, My Lady,” Shizune admitted. “I’m sorry we let this go on for so long.”

Tsunade thought for a moment before continuing to eat.

“I thought your attacks were improving…” she said. Sakura stared in disbelief.

“You aren’t… mad at me for hiding him in your village?” she squeaked.

“Hm. We’ve all done stuff like that,” Tsunade said after some contemplation.

“M-My Lady!” Shizune stuttered in horror. “You said you’d never bring up those things, for legal reasons, remember?”

What did she do…?’ Sakura wondered. She knew it was best not to ask.

“It sounds like you learned your lesson,” Tsunade continued. “And the training you went through with him helped you out of a bad situation you put yourself in.”

Sakura shrunk under her pointed gaze. She already knew about Sasuke?

“I’m sorry, My Lady,” Sakura mumbled, bowing her head in shame. Tsunade finally stopped looking at her extensive dinner and focused fully on her student.

“You did your best,” she said softly. “I am glad you returned home safe.”

Sakura looked back up at her, more tears in her eyes.

“I really wished you were there,” she admitted, wiping her eyes more. “I felt really stupid…”

“You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Sakura.”

A wave of relief crashed onto her, and she nodded, her throat tight.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t be there,” Tsunade said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “I know it was hard.”

Sakura sniffed.

“Thank you, My Lady.”

Tsunade eyeballed some chocolate cake and took a huge section of it out with her fork.

“So, when do I get to meet this new ally of ours?”


Sasori sighed as he breathed in the relaxing scent of his jasmine tea. He closed his eyes for a moment and leaned forward, embracing the subtle breeze coming through his window sill. His paints and tools were already scattered around his desk, a semi automatic senbon gun opened up before him. Fixing up his wounded Chiamatsu collection was taking longer than expected, since he did not build them himself. There was still much to learn about them, and he was determined to improve his use of their combo attacks. In prison, they allowed him to do pretty much whatever he wished, including puppet-making, but it felt overwhelming then. Here, he felt he had all the time in the world to patch them up.

He stood, stretching as he admitted he could use a break. He took his tea with him and headed to the kitchen in search of some fruit. He passed by the front door, and sensed something. He entertained his instincts and opened the front door to see Sakura sprinting towards his building at top speed.

He calmly took another sip of tea, trying to finish it before she reached him. She began to wave her arms, her mouth wide open with a smile. At least whatever happened appeared to be good news.

“She!” Sakura panted. “She’s awake!”

“Your Hokage?” Sasori asked, finally seeing the bottom of his cup as he downed more of his tea. Sakura ran up the stairs to him and grabbed his cup to put it to the side.

“I wasn’t done with that.”

Sakura looked down at the empty cup.

“Right. Sorry.”

She returned it to him and he only stared at it.


“Oh, right. She’s in a war meeting right now, but afterwards, she wants me to bring you to her,” Sakura explained, still catching her breath.

“Did you want to come in?” Sasori asked her, wondering what her rush was. She shook her head.

“I have to go to the hospital to check on this particular patient. They were notified I wouldn’t be there for my shift, but I want to check on him anyway.”

“Which one?” he asked, curious. Sakura sighed.

“The one with the chest wall deformity from severed ribs. He’s still experiencing a lot of pain, and his lung function isn’t that great. I’m prepping him another surgery soon. I just feel bad he’s dealing with so much.”

“You saved his life. He is lucky he can breathe at all,” Sasori stated. Sakura smiled.

“Yeah, I know. But he wants to get back to work, and he can’t do a chuunin’s duties the way he is now.”

“He should retire.”

Sakura was reminded of all the odds stacked against Rock Lee. Lady Tsunade’s miraculous work on his spine was what inspired Sakura to become a medical ninja. If it was possible to get him back out on the field, she should be able to help this man.

“I’m not giving up yet. Want to come with me?”

“Hm. I’m assuming afterwards I’m expected to join you in this visit with the Hokage?”

“Yes! She should be done then! I hope so!”

Sasori raised a brow at her. If anything, she was excited rather than nervous, which meant the Hokage saw things her way. He was also interested in meeting Sakura’s master- his grandmother’s arch nemesis.

“What does she think of me?” he asked her. Sakura stood straight, finally calming down.

“Well, she is… grateful to you. For protecting me.”

“In what way?” Sasori asked. She was the one who had protected him this whole time.

“Your training. She thinks it contributed to protecting me from Sasuke.”

“Does she know I encouraged that reckless behavior?” Sasori muttered.

“Shhh. That was all my idea. You just believed in my strength,” she replied with a soft smile. He rolled his eyes. She continued.

“When you meet her, please behave. I want her to like you, ok?”

“She hated my grandmother, so she will probably hate me.”

“Lady Hokage doesn’t believe in generational punishment!” Sakura exclaimed in defense. “If you show her respect, she will show you respect. So don’t act like you’re her equal or anything, ok? My dignity is on the line.”

Sasori only stared at her. She continued to plead at him with large, begging eyes.

“… Fine.”

“So are you coming?”

Sasori groaned. He disliked hospital visits. He knew she would be asking for his opinion on various patients, a fact that both stroked his ego and tested his patience with her.


He set down his empty cup and put on his shoes.

“So why are you visiting him?” he then asked. “He’s stable, right?”

“Well, yeah. I just feel responsible for him, since I was the one who took care of him that day. Patients heal well in safe environments- he is familiar with me.”

“Hm. You just don’t trust the others to do a good enough job.”

Sakura laughed as she rolled her eyes at him yet again.

“We have a lot of incredible staff, just so you know. There are plenty of others who can take good care of patients.”

“Then why were you put in charge of the entire hospital the day of Pain’s attack?” Sasori pointed out to her. She made a humming sound, understanding his point.

“I guess… you’re right. Maybe I do have enough faith in myself to provide the best care.”

Sasori liked her admittance to her excellence.

“He will be happy to see you too. He was one of the ones who got past Konan because of you.”

So that was her motive behind inviting him.

“The day I left on my… mission, his condition suddenly worsened. They did surgery, but by the time I got back, he almost died from complications. Now, he’s dealing with a lot of paresis.”

“Like I said, he should retire.”

Sakura frowned at him.

“Just look at his chart, ok? Quit projecting your secret fantasy onto him.”

“What, retiring? I don’t want to retire.”

“Hmmm. That’s debatable,” she replied. They had made it to their destination.

The hospital was mostly unfinished, but some wings had already been completed. Sasori stood in silence as she checked them both in. They headed up the stairs to the 3rd floor, where admitted patients were kept. He followed her to a room on the far end of the hall, and watched her knock on the door.

“Hey, Takahiro, are you awake?”

Sasori peered behind her head and looked into the white room. A man covered in casts greeted her with a smile. He was young- 30 at most- with long, black hair and tanned skin. His eyes were downturned, giving him a gentle appearance, and Sasori could feel his kind-hearted nature through his aura alone. He could see why Sakura was so determined to help him.

“Hello, Miss Sakura!” the man said cheerfully.

“This is Sasori, the one who helped me get your group here that day. He’s a medic too, and I brought him in for observation, if that’s all right?”

“Of course! It is nice to formally meet you,” Takahiro said warmly, unable to turn his head to see him fully. Sakura only mentioned the rib cage injury, but Sasori could now see why he was having complications. He must have been crushed by debris, and adrenaline was what allowed him to limp to the hospital that day. He was a mess- a broken femur, a plated wrist, and a neck cast caught Sasori’s immediate attention.

“Same to you,” Sasori mumbled, his eyes eagerly taking in every inch of the man’s condition. “I’m assuming there has been nerve damage as well.”

He was talking to Sakura without looking at her, already skimming over the man’s chart.

“Yes. We didn’t catch it at the time, but he has developed an epidural spinal hematoma as well.”

“Hm. And you expect this man to work as a ninja again?”

Takahiro suddenly laughed. Sakura smacked her forehead in shame.

“Sasori, don’t say stuff like that!”

“It’s ok, Miss Sakura. I appreciate his realism,” the young man chuckled. “You’re the only one who thinks I’m salvageable.”

“That’s not true. Your family is counting on you too,” Sakura mumbled, walking up to his side. Sasori studied his banged up face. Despite his injuries, he was a good-looking guy, and it wasn’t a surprise that he had made the time to settle down.

Sasori looked back down at the chart. It was… not good. In fact, it was quite bad. Sakura was severely downplaying the extent of this man’s injuries. His spine was damaged in several places due to blunt force trauma and several surgeries would be required to even attempt to regain some of his daily function. Due to the situation that day, not all of his problems had been discovered, since they weren’t killing him at the moment. Sakura herself only tackled red coded patients, and was forced to move on once imminent threats to one’s life were handled. But because of the delay in treatment, his body had healed in unfortunate ways, his neck most of all, complicating things.

He did not know what to say. He did enjoy reading about cases like this- the man’s spinal hematoma was particularly rare, and therefore interesting.

But trouble shooting ideas on how to keep a person alive was not his forte. He was primarily a pathologist, and self taught, so he rarely got the opportunity to work on things like this.

He was used as a medic in the war, and had announced hundreds of deaths and permanent disabilities. This was not the first of this man’s type to come his way. Until this point, he always told their superiors to send them home, because they were done being a ninja. He did not have time to babysit them or spend weeks plotting creative methods to relieve their symptoms- he was busy practically putting off the enemy on two fronts single-handedly. Still, he knew how difficult Sakura’s job was.

If anyone were to help someone like him, it would be Sakura, or the recently awakened Sannin. He did his best to suspend his disbelief.

“What do you think?” Sakura asked him. He refocused on the people in the room with him.

“I thought you just told me not to say things I’m thinking?” Sasori quizzed. Takahiro chuckled again.

“It’s ok. You can be blunt. I’m aware that it will take a miracle to get a normal job, let alone work as a ninja again.”

“Hmph! Miracles have happened before in this hospital, and they will again!” Sakura huffed. “Most of all, you have to tell yourself you can get good results. The brain can heal in amazing ways.”

Sasori looked back down at the sea of white covering the man’s body. If Sakura intended to use his Core to somehow save people, this man would be a good guinea pig.

He felt tricked by her. She knew if he saw the unique set of conundrums this man possessed, he wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about their solutions. This was her way of trying to get him invested in her research again.


A little girl suddenly ran past Sasori’s legs and jumped onto the man’s bed with him. Sasori blinked, and a woman apologized as she rushed past him, telling the girl to be careful. He stared as the woman leaned down to kiss Takahiro’s forehead. Something about her told Sasori she was a ninja as well.

“I made you your favorite,” the woman said, opening a paper bag to reveal a pork cutlet bowl. Takahiro visibly brightened up even more than before.

“You’re the best!” he exclaimed. He then remembered he had other visitors.

“Honey, this is the man who saved everyone in our building,” he announced to her. The woman looked him up and down.

“Oh, you’re the one all that fuss was about,” she remarked. “Sasori from Sunagakure, right? I’m Hayaka, and this little one here is Susako.”

She bowed and he returned the motion without thinking.

“We’ll get out of your way,” Sakura piped in. “I was just checking in, anyway. We have another stop to make.”

“Oh, you’re all right, Miss Sakura. Come by anytime. Takahiro here is getting restless from all this bed rest.”

Sasori stared. He hated seeing things like this. The aftermath of war was something he avoided, only comfortable with the dead. Funerals were torture, but the mourning of those who were still alive left a stranger feeling in his gut. Bed rest was likely all this man was going to know the rest of his life.

“Come on,” Sakura said quietly, “Let’s see Lady Hokage.”

Sasori silently followed her out the door.

“Thanks for stopping by!” Takahiro called.

Sasori said nothing.


“So…” Tsunade started, turning around to greet her new guest, “You’re the one who’s been hiding under my nose.”

The woman was short with a booming voice and long, blonde hair swept into pigtails. She was beautiful and young, unlike the only other time Sasori had seen her. Her presence was commanding, and Sasori could see how she handled such a large country’s military.

Sasori bowed, and Sakura sighed in relief.

“It is nice to finally meet you,” he said. Tsunade stared at him, her brown eyes picking up on every little thing about his demeanor.

“You certainly look the same,” she said, walking directly up to him. In her heels, she still stood a few inches shorter than him.

“We never met,” Sasori remarked. “Though my grandmother told me countless stories about you.”

Tsunade smirked, apparently entertained by that fact.

“Your grandmother was relentless. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

She looked him up and down.

“So, you are Sasori. You look like her.”

“You met my grandmother?” Sasori asked, his eyes opening in surprise.

“Once, during the treaty after the Second Great War. She cursed me,” Tsunade said. “You have the same red hair. And I hear you possess her medical skills as well, even at your current age.”

“… I am not as talented as your student.”

Tsunade was pleased with his compliments. She wandered back behind her desk.

“I heard you retrieved your old body,” she then said, sitting down. “Sakura has been researching it on her own. Have you no interest in it?”

“I gifted it to her, yes,” Sasori said, knowing what she was getting at- what they were both getting at.

“Since you are under my orders now, you will assist Sakura in this research. An attack can come at any moment, and we must be prepared.”

Sasori was impressed with how quickly she asserted dominance over him, and purposefully too. She was watching him closely, awaiting his reaction. She was very much like her student, unabashedly testing his character.

“… Very well.”

Despite his endless pride, he was not stupid enough to challenge her authority over him when she was the one protecting him from his own village.

“Do you think something will come of it, My Lady?” Sakura asked, perking up. “I sometimes feel silly for thinking it’s possible to work with dead tissue.”

“It is more than that. Several methods were invented to create that thing, all of which are useful. I will also assist you,” Tsunade announced. Sakura’s jaw dropped.

“Really? You have time for that?”

“I’m interested as well,” Tsunade confessed. She looked back at Sasori, who was pleased the world experts were so fascinated by his inventions.

“Next week, representatives of the Sand will arrive here to discuss you. Until then, you will remain here, and help the others rebuild the village. I will make a case in your favor.”

“Thank you, My Lady!” Sakura breathed, a hand on her chest. She bowed deeply to her. Tsunade noticed her intense reaction and smiled at her.

“Sakura,” she stated, getting her attention. Sakura stared at her expectantly.

“You did something you knew was against orders, and lied to your comrades to hide this man. Apologize to those you lied to.”

Sakura deflated.

“Yes, My Lady.”

“You also saved the man in front of you. Because of that, the village thanks you. You displayed great leadership, and thought like a doctor, like I taught you. Your actions resulted in many good acts down the line.”

“Thank you, My Lady!” Sakura replied, bowing yet again. Sasori could now see why Sakura permitted herself to be so gentle and forgiving. She received medical training above all else, which explained her mindset upon finding him. Save anyone who could be saved… He was always salvageable to her.


Sasori instinctively straightened.

“Continue to train with her. Learn from her as well. We need all the strength from you both.”

Sasori bowed slightly. She smiled at him.

“Welcome to the Hidden Leaf, Sasori.”

It was a formal greeting- he was officially a guest. He was seen, and being treated with respect. He… belonged.

“We won’t let you down, My Lady,” Sakura said cheerfully.

A Second Chance - Chapter 62 - Invisibleninja12 (2024)
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