Hinata’s room had a door instead of a curtain, and was kept completely sterile. Anyone going in had to have a covered mask and rubber gloves on at all times. Sakura pulled a fresh set of gloves and a mask from a box in the antechamber and fixed her hair in a tight bun before placing a white hood over it. As she entered, a nurse clad in white coverall was just finishing changing out Hinata’s I.V. drip. Sakura gathered up a stethoscope from a cabinet and Hinata’s chart from the end of her bed. She glanced through the chart as the nurse checked to make sure everything was secure, and then turned to leave. The young man gave Sakura a slight bow as he left, then hurried off to his other duties.
Hinata was awake, but she made no indication that she was aware of Sakura’s presence. She merely stared weakly at the ceiling, her snow white eyes half closed as if searching for flaws in the smooth white surface, her jet black hair spilled wildly over two pillows.
"Hello, Hinata." Sakura said as she came to Hinata’s and slid the earpieces of a her stethoscope into place. "How are you feeling today?"
Hinata turned and smiled thinly, and the small action was clearly taxing on her fellow Kunoichi. A quick check of Hinata’s vitals and the sound of her labored breathing told Sakura everything she needed to know.
"S-Sakura-san," Hinata whispered with some difficulty. "I’ve been better."
Sakura nodded at the obvious understatement.
"You have some scaring forming internally from the result of your wounds and the surgeries. I’ll be attempting to clear some of that up some this afternoon. It will allow you to breathe easier and hopefully get a good night’s sleep tonight."
Hinata nodded her understanding.
"This is going to take a while," Sakura warned, "But it will only be slightly uncomfortable. Can I get you anything?"
Hinata shook her head.
"Then let’s begin."
Hinata had been stabbed with a kunai cleanly through the abdomen. The weapon had pierced intestine, ruptured the spleen and caused abrasive damage to other organs. The weapon had cut almost completely through, but even worse, it had burned her on the way through. Five surgeries complete with a full regeneration ritual involving a lock of her own hair had been necessary to repair most of the damage. Now Sakura set about the difficult task of coaxing her organs to heal quickly and safely without further scaring. That meant getting the blood to move, platelets to stick, and not letting anything clot too much. It also meant Sakura would have to fight infection off with her own chakra, as a high white blood cell count in the area’s needing healing would complicate the process.
Sakura slid the bottom end of Hinata’s off-white hospital gown up slowly to reveal her bare belly and fresh stitches. Placing her hands there, Sakura began the treatment.
"By the way," Sakura said as chakra began flowing through her hands into Hinata. She was suddenly grateful for the mask that partially hid her expressions. Perhaps Kakashi Sensei was on to something. "I just came from visiting with Naruto. He says he wanted to tell you thank you, for everything, and that he never doubted you would survive."
Hinata’s eyes flickered, and her tired stare suddenly came to life, if only for a moment.
"Naruto-kun?" Hinata whispered. "So he . . . won?"
"No." Sakura said simply, and left it at that. Hinata did not pry any further.
Sakura’s hands had glowed with blue-green healing light for half an hour when Sakura, having never denied being the talkative type, just couldn’t stand the silence any longer. Every now and again Hinata would grimace and make a small noise like a whimpering puppy, but the lack of anyone to talk to was driving Sakura crazy. Plus, there was so many things she wanted to ask Hinata, but didn’t know how. Naruto had obviously told her what Hinata had said during the battle in confidence. It wouldn’t do to casually say, "So . . . Naruto says you love him, that true?"
"Hinata," Sakura said at last. "Is something wrong? You look . . . troubled."
Hinata looked at Sakura as if she had just entered the room, her chin actually lifting her head up off the pillow for a moment. When Hinata relaxed again she looked thoughtful, but still distant.
"It . . .that is I . . ." Hinata stammered and steepled her index fingers together nervously. "Its nothing really."
"Hey," Sakura encouraged. "Woman to woman. I promise I’ll understand."
Sakura thought she saw Hinata try and smile.
"I . . .I didn’t expect to live through this injury." admitted Hinata.
Sakura felt her brow furrow. "And that troubles you?"
"No!" Hinata squeaked. "Well, yes, actually . . . but . . . well its just that . . ."
Hinata couldn’t seem to finish what she was thinking, and even an encouraging smile from Sakura only seemed to make her bury whatever she was going to say deep down. The dark haired girl closed her eyes as if exhausted by her own thoughts. Sakura knew she should just leave it alone at that point, but the questions of her heart were burning in her now like a wildfire out of control, and so she tried another tactic.