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Infected

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Chapter 1:
Epidemic


He sat atop the one-hundred-and-fifty-foot stone wall the wind tossing his striking red hair about his ears. He'd climb the wall in the morning to clear his head. Too many complications were occurring in the village below for him to find any peace. The climb would have been impossible for a normal person, but ninjas aren't normal. He wore a dark red cloak with a silver chest plate overtop, his light green eyes scanned the enormous village below.

The wall he stood on extended in a half circle around the village connecting with rock mountains in the back. A small sand tornado spun about below, some children were trying to catch the apparition. He sat hunched over, unbothered by the extreme heat from the sun beating on his back. Someone who'd not grown up in this region might experience heat stroke but he found the excess warmth pleasant. His expression was blank as he tried to clear his mind of the day's trials.

To most of the younger villagers this young man was their highly respected leader, but to the ones who knew his past, feared him only as a monster. Nineteen-year-old Gaara is the current Kazekage of the hidden sand village. He carries within him the monster Shukaku and has since his birth.

The children below laughed and played with the small tornado, he smiled gently. A smile for him was rare, something he only did when alone. One child was slower than the rest, the young girl appeared to have a hard time breathing, she couldn't keep up with her friends. Her face grew paler by the second. Gaara watched as the girl slowly came to a stop and fell. Without hesitation Gaara jumped off the wall and slid down the side focusing his chakra into his foot and hand to grip the surface. He descended the wall in a few seconds and caught the girl easily before her face smashed into the pavement.

The children rushed over to see what the commotion was about. Gaara placed a gentle hand over the girl's forehead feeling for a fever. The little girl was burning up and her breathing was sallow. Gaara noticed that the children were very frightened. How can I sooth their fears?

A woman appearing to be the girls' mother rushed over to him, "What's wrong?!"

"She has a fever, and it's rising," Gaara replied calmly. "I am taking her to the hospital. Come with me."

The frantic mother nodded while ringing her hands. She followed Gaara obediently who picked up the kid in his strong arms. They headed to the village hospital which was under quarantine; only patients and authorized personal could get into. When they entered a nurse rushed to take the girl from him. The mother stood there ringing her hands asking over and over "Is my daughter going to be all right?" Gaara reassured her that the doctors would treat her child but it took a few minutes of convincing before another nurse came to take the mother to her daughters' room.

Gaara sighed with relief before heading down the sand-colored hallway. He headed to a room in the heart of the hospital, a sign on the door read "Do not Disturb, Experiment in Progress". Gaara opened the door slowly and quietly walked into the brightly lit room lined with long steel tables. On every table lay a variety of test tubes or medically related plants, and all different kinds of medical tools. In the middle of the room, embedded into the floor was a huge tank, the top of the tank was only visible from this room. On the other side of the room stairs led to a basement containing the rest of the tank and several machines.

At one table stood two women, one stood taller than Gaara and a good six years older. She's tied up her blond hair into four separate pig tails, two on top and two behind. She wore a black dress with a metal chest plate and a giant fan strapped to her back. Her eyes were black and her gaze penetrating. Temari, Gaara's older sister scratched the back of her head frustrated as she looked at table.

The other woman was about Gaara's height, with bright pink hair, her leaf headband kept her short hair out of her light green eyes. She wore a red shirt, and a bright pink skirt over top black shorts; the slits up the sides of the skirt would be too revealing without the shorts underneath. The woman glared at a small test tube filled with a green liquid that she held in her hand. It was if she expected it to come to life at any moment. This was Sakura Haruno the eighth Hokage of the Village Hidden in the Leaves.

She shared this title with three other people for two reasons. The first reason was the fifth Hokage Tsunade is retired; the other two Hokage's are her former cell members. The reason she shared the title was because the village also chose Naruto Uzumaki and Sasuke Uchiha as candidates at the same time. However, they couldn't decide on which one to pick. The elders made them duke it and they ended up knocking each other out in a three-way tie for the title; so, Naruto became the sixth, Sasuke the seventh, and Sakura the eighth.

Sakura is the best medical ninja there is, for that reason the sand village requested her help. Sakura shook her head putting the test tube into a holder, Temari let out a sigh. Looking up Sakura noticed Gaara standing at the door.

"Another one?" She asked exhausted.

Gaara nodded sadly. Lately, some virus was making its way through the village. A few of the elderly that caught it didn't survive, and many were fighting for their lives. No one in the Sand village could identify it. The Council of the Sand tried everything to keep the people calm and to quell the rumors of an epidemic. The worse part of the virus was that it was effecting children most of all. A few of the children were in critical condition and all their parents could do was wait. Gaara felt helpless, he couldn't heal his people. If this epidemic spread anymore and wiped out all the children, then the future of the sand village would be lost.

The only choice the sand village had was too called upon the best medic in the leaf. Sakura stood at the table, her hands pressing into the top, she bit into her lip. Her frustration was understandable; she'd been there for days and was no closer to figuring out the nature of the virus. The best she'd done was delay the spread.

"You need rest," Temari gently took Sakura by the shoulder and lead her out of the room.

Temari came back a little later and found Gaara leaning against the wall. He barley glanced up when she walked in, his way of acknowledging her presence.

"How many now?" asked Gaara, in a calm voice.

"Forty-eight, but they just keep coming. If we get any more, I don't think the villagers will stay calm," there were dark circles under Tamari's eyes.

Gaara looked up at her and spoke in a businesslike manner, "Temari, you shouldn't tell people they need rest and get none yourself."

"You're one to talk, you insomniac," snapped Temari.

Gaara smiled a bit at that. It was true; he was an insomniac, permanent dark circles lined his eyes. If he ever fell asleep, he would the turn into Shukaku and go on a rampage.

"We don't need Shukaku in this mix right now. Go get sleep Temari," Gaara responded casually, lately he found talking to his sister easier.

Temari didn't argue anymore and headed home. Gaara glanced around the room feeling helpless. He could take a man's life easily but he didn't even have the power to save one child. He left to go give the counsel the bad news about the climbing rate. Who knows what they'll come up with now to keep the people quiet? Gaara thought. I hate this emotion. Why am I so useless? How can I help my people?

The answer slowly walked towards the village; fighting against the strong winds of the desert.

I own nothing Naruto, but I own two characters in the next chapter. This is my first fanfic ever. I hope everyone enjoys it.