A Tool Called Shinobi

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"Why... Why can't I keep up with him...?" Zabuza wondered aloud, panting. He glared at Kakashi, who had just managed to stab a couple of kunais in his arm while simultaneously avoiding his attack. Why was that copy bastard still able to move around so well? "Damn it!!" he yelled, charging in again as he gripped his sword with his good hand.

WHAM!

Before Zabuza could land a scratch on him, Kakashi beat the missing-nin back with a simple backhanded punch.

"UGH! RAAA!!" Zabuza roared furiously as he quickly braced himself and swung his blade.

CRASH!

Kakashi easily sidestepped the attack and disappeared in a flash, reappearing just behind Zabuza as the blade smashed into the concrete where he had just been standing only half a second ago. He placed a hand on the back of Zabuza's neck.

"!!" Zabuza gasped, startled when he felt the firm grip of his enemy's hand.

"You can't beat me in your current state," Kakashi told him coolly.

"What!?" Zabuza exclaimed, sweating nervously.

"You haven't noticed...?" Kakashi asked, furrowing his brow. Ever since Haku's death, his movements had become more erratic and less controlled.

"Alright, that's good, Sakura-chan," April said as she watched her carefully remove the last needle in Sasuke's neck just like how she had described. "Now we need to elevate his legs. We can prop his feet up in my lap," she said, scooting over into position, while Sakura began lifting his legs for her. "Keep his knees a little bent. We don't want them locking up. Good."

"Now... Now what?" Sakura asked anxiously, starting to get nervous again. Sasuke still wasn't waking up.

"Now, we wait..." April said, biting her lip nervously. She hoped she was right about this. "If this works, we'll know in a few minutes..." Holding onto his legs, his skin still felt cold to the touch. "We need to warm him up more. Sakura-chan, can you try sharing some of your body heat with him?"

"Eh!?" Sakura said, blushing.

"Just lay next to him, or something. His body temperature is too low from being surrounded by all that ice," April explained calmly. "But be careful of the needles we had to leave in. We don't want to aggravate his wounds..."

"O-Oh, Okay..." Sakura agreed, nodding her head in understanding as she moved into position, laying down next to Sasuke. Her blush deepened as she tried putting one of her arms around him.

"Uhm... What is exactly is it that you're trying to do?" Tazuna asked.

"Well... Remember how Haku used these needles to put Zabuza in a state of temporary death before?" April asked, furrowing her brow. "... I'm hoping he did the same for Sasuke-kun."

"!!" Tazuna and Sakura gasped. Of course... If that was the case, then there still might be a chance that Sasuke...!!

"My martial arts instructor had some training in acupuncture and other forms of traditional medicine. He said it was dangerous for amateurs to mess around with, so he never taught me how to use the needles... but he did teach me a little about how to remove them and help someone recover in case of an emergency," April continued to explain. "What we're doing now is removing too much unwanted pressure from the vital points and encouraging the restoration of blood flow to the brain... hopefully that will be enough to bring him out of suspended animation, but..."

"But what?" Sakura asked. April bit her lip, looking troubled.

"Sakura..." she said seriously. "I need you to prepare yourself... for the chance that I might be wrong." Sakura stared at her with wide eyes. "I'm sorry..." April apologized as the crease in her brow deepened. "But I just can't be sure... I'm not an expert, and even Kakashi-sensei was fooled by this technique..." It might already be too late.

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