Gilded

Son Goku

Summary: With loving parents and plenty of friends, unease is the last thing that Naruto should be feeling. But it lingers in the back of his mind, clouding his sight with suspicion and paranoia. Why do his dreams feel so real? Why does he remember things that never were?

Gilded

Chapter 4

Son Goku


~o0O0o~


Naruto opened the door and blinked at the tall, robust frame of the man standing in front of him before his face broke out in a wide grin. "Ero-sennin! You're back!" he crowed, tackling the Toad Sage in his own version of a hug.

Jiraiya scowled grouchily, prying his godson off of himself. "I told you not to call me that, brat!" he snapped.

Naruto merely laughed, ducking under the older man's swipe. "Mom! Dad! Ero-sennin's back!" he called.

Before Naruto could dart back into the house, Minato appeared right next to the front door without warning, causing both Naruto and Jiraiya to flinch away.

"Gah! Dad, what the hell!" Naruto shouted, his hand clutched over his heart.

Jiraiya on the other hand merely rolled his eyes. "You've gotten lazy, Minato. Too good for walking now?"

"Apparently!" Kushina answered from somewhere further in the house. "It's been weeks since he last used a door!"

Jiraiya snorted and Minato chuckled, the skin around his eyes crinkling with mirth. "It's good to see you too, sensei."


~o0O0o~

After dinner, they gathered in the family room as Jiraiya regaled them with tales of his travels.

"You wouldn't believe the women of the land of Waterfalls. They've got unbelievable," here he made a lewd gesture that would have had a much better reception had Kushina not been glaring frostily at them. Naruto and Minato glanced nervously at each other before discreetly backing their chairs up away from the imminent eruption that was Kushina.

"Keep going. I'd love to hear more, ya know." Her expression became dangerously blank, and her eyes took on a nerve-wrecking glint.

Jiraiya abruptly paled, as though finally realizing who he'd been talking to. "A-Ah, no, there's not much to tell."

Kushina smiled, and Jiraiya almost peed himself. "Oh, don't be shy, Jiraiya. Please continue your story."

Jiraiya looked pleadingly to Minato, only to realize that the man and his son had both somehow ended up at the very edge of the room, right by the doorway.

Those traitors.


~o0O0o~

"Hey, Tsunade-baachan. Now that I've become a sage, I can sense people's chakra signatures."

" . . ."

"Is Kakashi-sensei out on a mission?"

" . . ."

"I see."

Without warning Naruto collapsed bonelessly onto the bleached tiles of the hospital room. Sakura and Kakashi both shouted in shock and rushed to his prone form, Kakashi completely disregarding his bedrest orders to do so.

"Naruto!"

"Naruto?! Can you hear me?!" Sakura rolled Naruto onto his stomach to ensure that he would merely drool instead of choking on his own saliva. She then forced open his eyelids, looking closely for any abnormalities in his pupils. After several tense minutes of poking and prodding, she leaned back with a sigh. "It doesn't look like he had a stroke or anything," she told Kakashi, "but I have no idea what made him just pass out like this."

Kakashi looked down at his slumbering student, worry and fear worming their way into his heart. "But Naruto will be fine, right?"

Sakura looked at him with one of the most frustrated expressions he'd ever seen from her. "That's the thing: I don't know. Whatever made Naruto just lose consciousness like that could be life-threatening, so we need to figure out whatever the hell it is so we can fix it."

Kakashi nodded in resignation. He'd trusted Sakura to make the medical decisions that were in the team's best interest for several years now. If Sakura thought that there was cause for concern, then they'd damn well listen to her. "So does that mean that he'll need to stay in the hospital while you run those tests?"

"That's right. Help me get him up to your bed, sensei."

"Where am I going to sleep?" Kakashi joked, hooking a hand underneath Naruto's arm.

"In your house, you freeloader," Sakura shot back before grabbing Naruto's other arm and hauling him off the ground.

Kakashi paused in confusion. "Wait, I'm healed?" He glanced back at his previously injured arm. He hadn't noticed before with the fiasco of Naruto falling unconscious, but there was no pain coming from his injury anymore. He tightened a few muscles experimentally, mentally bracing himself for the pain, but it never came. "Huh," Kakashi said. "Well that's good, at least."

After they'd hauled Naruto into Kakashi's old bed, Kakashi went to find his student's parents while Sakura began coordinating various diagnostic tests.


~o0O0o~

When Naruto woke up, the first thing he realized was that he wasn't in his room. The second thing that he realized was that his head was killing him. And the third thing that he realized was that as soon as he started to move, lots of voices started talking all at once. Scowling, he blinked away the sleep from his eyes and his vision came into focus.

A pale hand reach up and brushed his forehead. Naruto followed it with his eyes to the pink-haired person it was attached to. Sakura-chan? What was she doing here? Another hand reached and cupped his face, and Naruto founded himself staring into his mother's eyes. Mom, too? What the hell was going on?

Slowly, the disorienting jumble of voices began sorting themselves into words.

"Tes—ven't—"

"But—out the—"

"That isn't wor—"

Naruto shook his head. Nothing was making any sense. He stilled when he felt cool hands resting on his temples. Kushina looked into his eyes, and her mouth moved as she said something, but he couldn't understand her. Naruto shook his head and her eyes grew hard, and he felt something strange coming from her hands for the briefest amount of time. It was freezing cold and felt utterly alien, and he would have flinched away from his mother's touch had it not been so fast.

Slowly, Kushina withdrew her hands, staring at him intently. This time when she spoke, he could understand.

"Naruto?" she said, her concern clear in the tenseness of her voice. "Naruto? Can you hear me?"

Naruto opened his mouth to speak and all of a sudden realized how dry it was. He tried to swallow before giving up and rasping out, "Yeah. I can hear you, mom."

With that, everyone in the room seemed to sag with relief. Suddenly, Naruto noticed that his mom and Sakura weren't the only ones in the room with him. Standing further back, his dad, Kakashi-sensei, and even Ero-sennin were all in there with him.

Something warm settled in his chest. "Hey guys," Naruto said, grinning so wide it was starting to hurt. "How's it going?"

"Idiot," Sakura said fondly, the tenderness of her voice making his face feel hot. Everyone else just laughed.


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