"Hey Sakura!" Naruto smiled at the door breathing a bit heavy.
"Naruto if hurts that much to walk then don't! I swear!" Sakura walked in pushing him into a chair.
"Heh. Heh. It's not my legs." Naruto frowned a bit. Sakura knelt down.
"The stomach wound. Has it gotten worse?" She pushed up Naruto's night shirt which he held for her.
"It started bleeding again
" Sakura's eyes widened, the bandages underneath the shirt were soaked through.
"Naruto why didn't you send me a shadow clone or something! Kami Naruto!" Sakura immediately started to treat him. Koichi woke up and was yawning. He blinked and looked over at Naruto smiling. His little arms reached out to be held. Naruto reached out one hand for Koichi to hold while he was being inspected.
"I would have Sakura but
" Naruto looked down. His bangs covered his eyes. Sakura looked up from the wound.
"But what?" Sakura looked up at him earnestly. Naruto moved uncomfortably in his seat.
"I tried to make one last night before my wound opened. Koichi was crying. He wanted to be held and was hungry
.I just didn't have enough hands!" Naruto was shaking slightly.
"Naruto tell me what happened when you tried to make a shadow clone." Sakura's tone was sincere but laced with the tone a doctor making orders.
that's when my wound opened again. It hurt like I was being hit and there was no clone in sight." Naruto knew the gravity of the situation. He couldn't perform jutsu. Worse when he tried it opened up his wounds. Sakura stood. Tears had flooded her eyes, but she didn't want Naruto to see them. She had to take him to Tsunade this was bad and getting worse. What if Naruto couldn't be a ninja anymore? Sakura couldn't let that happen.
"Sakura," She looked at him, "there's only one thing that can be done. Somehow we need to get someone to inspect my seal from the inside
and there's only one person who's ever gotten that close besides me
" Sakura knelt down. Koichi was giggling and reached for her too. She shyly reached out and he played with her engagement ring.
Sasuke." She whispered. Naruto nodded and sighed.
"But I won't go looking for him. Koichi needs me and I won't leave him alone, I'll wait a few years until Koichi is a bit older and not as dependent on me." Sakura sighed.
"Naruto we'll continue everything we can here and we will send out teams for him!" Sakura blathered.
"It's okay Sakura. I'll be okay." His smile then was so lost, so hurt, and so
tired. Sakura wrapped her arms around him. She held on as tight as she dared. Even though physically she was holding him she had slight suspicions that he was slipping right through her fingers. She had known this though. It had started a long while ago. She heard a gurgle of laughter and opened her eyes. Koichi was playing with his blanket biting on it and smiling. Maybe this kid could save Naruto.
"Well we need you to get treatment but with your legs like they are I don't want you moving. I'll go get Lady Hokage and then come back okay. In the meantime, Sakura grabbed her bag and pulled out a smaller bag of baby's firsts. There was his first photo album, his baby book, his first bib, and first toys. Sakura smiled madly at the look on the blonde's face.
"Oh thank you! Sakura this is awesome!" Naruto grinned madly. Sakura smiled and then left with a kiss left on both the boys' cheeks.
Sakura sped off toward the Hokage tower. Naruto returned to her thoughts. The village's number one hyper-active unpredictable ninja. What would he do, would he be in pain? What treatment could they provide until Sasuke could be found? Could Sasuke even do anything for Naruto and more importantly would he? Soon Sakura was outside the window to Tsunade's office. She figured when it came to Naruto Tsunade wouldn't mind her haste. She swung inside since it was open.
"Sakura!" Tsunade started rather angry.
"I'm sorry My Lady but you've got to come with me!" Sakura then stopped and looked around at the occupants of the room.
"What's going on?" Her gut told her she had just interrupted a meeting about Raven.
"How's Naruto?" Kakashi asked plainly.
"Worse. His legs are the same as before, but
"Sakura what happened?" Tsunade commanded full attention.
"His stomach wound has opened. It's because he tried to make a shadow clone last night. He needed an extra hand but it didn't work and he's in more pain for the trouble! Please lady Tsunade, please we've got to go!" All the fear for her "little brother" that Sakura hadn't wanted to show in front of him was coming off her in waves now.
"Kakashi, Iruka, and Shikamaru come with me and Sakura. Kurenai I need you to help Shizune out today since I suspect I won't be around much. That okay?" Kurenai nodded. Sakura breathed a sigh of relief it would be okay, right? Soon Sakura, Tsunade, Kakashi, Iruka, and Shikamaru were heading toward the blonde's apartment. Kakashi came up to Sakura squeezing her hand. She looked over at him as they ran.
"He'll be fine. When has Naruto ever let us down?" A smile showed through his mask. Sakura smiled too and then frowned.
"If you knew something about whatever Raven is you should have told me." The ice in her voice was evident making Kakashi shiver. He knew his fiancé could be quite the hell bringer when angry.
"Can't. Tsunade's orders." He said serious again. She nodded curtly as they ascended on the apartment. Naruto had the window open, probably expecting this.
"Whoah! You brought a whole crew Sakura!" The blonde chuckled as the group swung into the room. Sakura smiled at him. He stood shakily and his breathing was hitched. "Hey Kakashi-sensei, Iruka-sensei!" He smiled his arm reflexively balancing Koichi who was on the couch with his first stuffed dinosaur.
"Naruto sit down!" Sakura walked up fussing over him as he sat. A sweat had started on his forehead. Kakashi and Iruka shared glances. Iruka was going to be Kakashi's best man and they had been in synch lately. It was kind of scary actually.
"So Naruto how you holding up?" Iruka sat next to his favorite student.
"I'm fine!" He smiled. Picking up Koichi and setting him on the floor to play. Shikamaru bent down to the little one.
"Okay Naruto sit back and let me take a look at you." He nodded leaning back against his couch. He had gotten a bigger apartment since he was a teen and loved having a living room. Tsunade bent down and using her chakra lightly swept her hand over his torso. Everyone seemed to hold their breath. Tsunade sighed as she finished.
"You have a chakra build up. It cannot be released because something is blocking it. Kakashi can you?" Kakashi nodded.
"Leave your mind blank Naruto, I'm going to try and diagnose this a bit better." Naruto nodded staring blankly as Kakashi unleashed his Sharingan.
Kakashi looked around all around was fire. He looked for Naruto in the walls. He could hear him pacing a ways away but the heat was too much and Kakashi couldn't advance any further. Kakashi pulled away and Naruto blinked.
"Where were you I didn't see you?" Naruto asked. Kakashi shrugged.
"My sharingan isn't powerful enough. I couldn't get through. There was heat all around like a fog of fire engulfing your chakra system. If only
" But Kakashi stopped himself, only Naruto continued his thought process.
"Only if Sasuke was here right. He has done it before, gone that far." Naruto sighed.
"Well," Tsunade stated, "It seems until we can figure out something else we'll have to drain you at least every two weeks. It'll be painful. Sakura and I will have to forcefully open your chakra system and pull you chakra from you. That fire Kakashi was talking about will be released into your body." Naruto sighed and nodded. Sakura started to unpack Tsunade's bag.
"Isn't there another way?" Shikamaru was helping Koichi with his first block set.
"No, it would be easier if we had Neji or Hinata here, but we need to do this one immediately. Of course the best case scenario would be a direct diagnosis but we need Sasuke for that." The group minus Sakura and Naruto shared a look. Naruto picked up Koichi.
"Can I put him down for his morning nap first?" Naruto asked as Koichi smiled and snuggled into Naruto's neck and shoulder thoroughly beat. Tsunade nodded and they all watched as he shakily got up and went into his room with his baby. Naruto closed the door to his room and lay on his bed with his son. He giggled and kicked his legs.
"Come on Koichi calm down its nap time. Koichi's big blue eyes started to droop. "I'm sorry Koichi. I wish I could be healthy enough to have all my attention and time to be with you. I'll be here when you wake up okay?" tears started to slide down Naruto's cheeks. "I love you Koichi, I promise to give you a life, a very good life even if I have to give up on him." He kissed his son's forehead as his eyes closed and he fell soundly asleep. His grip was still tight on Naruto's shirt. Naruto slowly unfurled his tiny fingers and kissed them before standing and limping to the door. He walked out a finger to his mouth asking for quiet.
"Okay Naruto lay down here." Tsunade and Sakura had set up a mini hospital room on his living room floor. He lay down and smiled at his friends, they all held some degree of worry on their features.
"See you in a bit!" He laughed lightly as Sakura gave him the gas mask and he slipped under. It wasn't immediate and as his eyes drooped slowly he could hear Tsunade giving orders to Iruka and Shikamaru to get ready to hold him down and Kakashi reactivated his sharingan. His vision finally swam and he saw one last thing. It was Sasuke walking away from him. It was a dream he had so many times, except this time he didn't run after him but watched him go.
"Hang on!" Said a worried and focused Tsunade as she and Sakura were finishing up Naruto. Shikamaru and Iruka had been holding him down. His mouth was held by Kakashi so he didn't scream. His whole body shook and tears spilled down his cheeks. He was in a lot of pain, but they were almost done. Soon his body went lax and the boys blinked, what had happened.
"Sensei! His...he isn't breathing!" Sakura had tears forming as Kakashi started to do CPR and Tsunade also worked on him. Soon a shaky breath was taken. They all visibly relaxed. The treatment had been hard on Naruto and he wasn't waking up. It was about midday by now. Iruka walked into the apartment's kitchen and started cooking, saying everyone would be hungry when Naruto woke. Shikamaru set a wet washcloth on the dobe's forehead. He had a high fever, which they had expected and his breathing still wasn't normal. Sakura and Tsunade were working on his legs and stomach again while he slept. The blue sky outside with children's laughter ringing didn't fit the gloomy mood the people in the sunny apartment had.
Elsewhere in a holding cell void of any light sat a man. He was patient and silent. He didn't struggle against his binds knowing that he'd be out soon. His thoughts were on memories of a blonde haired blue eyed man that waited for him. A smirk grew on his features. He had heard anbu whispering on their watch. He was needed. He would be able to come home soon. He was glad. All he wanted was to come home.
"I'm almost there
dobe." He whispered to a memory of a smile.