Trapeze

Chapter 22

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto... just like I haven't when I started writing Acrobats... or anything older...

Thanks to Once Upon An April, Fernlight, Chichi4mangaHero, Love8Peace, Kyoichi Amaya, Animefreak1145, sally96, YukiKitsune95, Silent-Himitsu, Vklover13, and itachiluv18 for reviews. Thanks to ANIMEFAN426, and Once Upon An April for favorites.

Sally95: Yeah… Poor Tenshi, but hey at least people love her!

You know, I was reading my very first fanfic I had ever written and I realized... OH GOD I WAS SUCH A HORRIBLE WRITER BACK THEN! O.o lol

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The next morning I was knocking on the main Uchiha house before the sun even rose. Shisui answered sleepily, "Tora...? Wha' are you doing here?" He asked groggily, rubbing his eyes. I flashed a smile, "Come to pick up Tenshi. She stayed with Itachi last night." Shisui tilted his shaggy head, confused. Sighing I explained the situation, leaving out the conversation between Itachi and I when he told me Tenshi was at his house. Shisui was nodding off when I finished, so I swatted him in the chest. He grunted and shot me a nasty look, "It's four in the moring, Tora. Don't blame me for being tired." I smirked, "Sure your exhaustion has nothing to do with Hana?" Shisui actually blushed and looked away while I stared. I had been making a wild guess, I didn't seriously think... I shut the thought down. Hands on my hips I asked, "Aren't you supposed to wait until your wedding night?"

Shisui was saved from answering when Itachi walked up behind him, a still sleeping Tenshi on his hip, her dark head resting on his shoulder as she held onto his neck with her thin arms. I couldn't help but smile at the way my daughter clung to him. "She stayed up half the night crying." Itachi stated and I glanced at him. Unlike his cousin, Itachi was wide awake and looked like he had no sleep at all. I gave him an apologetic look, "I'm sorry. She usually is out before nine." Itachi shrugged and tried to give Tenshi to me, but she clung to him, murmuring incoherently in her sleep.

Gently I laid my hand on her back and whispered her name. She opened her sightless eyes slowly, blinking the sleep away, "Mommy...?" She mumbled. I took her from Itachi, "I'm here, baby." I whispered into her hair. Her little fingers reached up and traced down my scarred cheek, then she buried her face in my hair, "I'm sorry Mama..." She whimpered and I could feel her hot tears soaking into my shoulder. I shushed her, swaying gently as I petted her sleep tossled hair, "It's okay, Tenshi. Reiko-oji and I would never hate you, no matter what you ever did." She snuggled closer to me. I sighed, glad that she was my little angel again.

I looked up to see Shisui giving us a goofy smile so big I was sure it would fall off. Itachi had that tender look that he seemed only to reserve for Tenshi and me, the one I saw rarely and longed for the most. I smiled at both of them, "Thank you for watching her." I said as I backed out of the door. Tenshi ruined the moment by tilting her head and asked, "Shisui-oji, what were those noises last night?" The last thing I saw as I ran out of the Uchiha house, embarrassed by my daughter's question, was Itachi glowering darkly at a very red Shisui. I had a feeling my best friend was going to get it from his clan leader.

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"You sit here and behave, Tenshi." I said as I sat her down in the nurses' break room. She scruntched her nose, "I'm bored Mama." She said before I could even leave the room. I glanced around the professionaly boring room looking for something for her to play with, when I remembered the stuffed tiger Mitsuko gave me. I grabbed it from my locker, mentally thanking my lucky stars that I had forgotten to take it home, and held it out to her. "Here's a tiger to play with. If you're good I'll take you with me on my rounds later, okay?" I knelt in front of her and pushed her bangs back to see her face. She nodded, petting the tiger's soft fur. I kissed her forehead and stood to leave when Tenshi's small voice called, "I am really sorry Mommy." I smiled and bent down to hug her again, "I know you are, sweetie. I still love you, so don't worry."

A few hours later I was walking towards the record room, scanning my list of documents to retrieve, when Mitsuko burst in the hospital, "Tora! Help!" She cried. I spun to see my student barely supporting a boy of fifteen with black hair and red eyes, his face twisted in a grimance as he clutched his side. Three years as a medic took over and I rushed them both into a room, "What happened?" I asked Mitsuko as I cut his shirt open to reveal a large bloody gash running down his ribs. She stared at the wound, "When I got home for lunch I found Hayato like this on the couch. He said it was nothing, but I knew he had a fever by just looking at him. Please Tora, don't let my brother die!" She pleaded, turning her tear filled eyes towards me.

I put my hand on her shoulder, "He'll be alright, Mitsuko. You got him here in enough time. Now, I need you to go find Ruri and then go to the jounin medic break room and keep my daughter company while we work here, okay?" The twelve year old nodded, biting her lip. She took one last look at the boy groaning on the bed before running to the door. A thought came to me and I called out as she flung open the door, "Never mind about Tenshi, go inform your family of the accident after you find Ruri." She nodded again and disappeared.

A few minutes later Ruri rushed in, already tying her raven hair back. I cursed under my breath, having forgotten to do the same to my hair before getting my hands bloody. Ruri, seeing my predicament, braided my long hair loosely, so it was out of my face, before turing to our patient. "What happened to him?" I shrugged, "Mitsuko didn't know. She said she came home and found him like this. Get me an identification scroll." Ruri nodded and spread one out on the table before hooking the boy up to an IV drip and heart monitor. I transfered a few drops of blood from the boy to the seal and made a hand sign. The blood soaked into the seal and a list of substances in the blood formed at the bottom left corner of the scroll.

Ruri watched me from the other side of the bed, waiting for the verdict. I sighed, "So this isn't an accident." I muttered to myself before turning to Ruri, "He's been poisoned. I'm getting the antidote, you remove as much of the poison as you can." Ruri blinked and stepped in front of me, blocking me from the door, "No, you remove the poison, I'll get the antidote. Give me the scroll." I wordlessly handed the used identification scroll over trying not to snap at my friend. I knew why she wanted me to stay, because my stupid scared leg prevented me from running. I would be putting this kid's life in danger if I took too long getting the antidote. I shouldn't be angry, but I was.

Ruri left and I strapped the boy down to prepare for the procedure that had been created by Sakura. Two nurses came in to help, probably ordered by Ruri. As I secured his left wrist with a leather strap, the boy cracked a teary red eye, "...Mi'su-k-ko...?" I smiled at him, "Yes Mitsuko brought you here. Now go to sleep." I said softly and performed a sleeping jutsu on the poor kid. There was no way I was going to let him be conscious through the procedure of removing poison from a body's system. I had been once and I never wanted anyone else to repeat the experiance. By the time he drifted off again one of the nurses had prepared a bowl of herbal water.

Taking a deep breath I formed a bubble of the green-tinted water in my hand and quickly pushed in into the boy's wound. He surged against his bonds unconsciously, gritting his teeth. I had to admit he was strong, most people would have screamed, even in their sleep. I know I had when Sakura did the procedure on me, though I had been awake when she did it to me. Slowly the water gushed back into my hand, dark grey flakes floating in the center of the bubble. I released the water in a bowl and ordered on of the nurses to prepare another. I continued the process of forcing the bubble into the wound, waiting a few minutes, taking the now poison filled water back out and dropping it into a waiting bowl.

Three times later Ruri came back with a clay cup filled to the brim with a brown sludge drink. I finished extracting the poison I had been working on and let the bubble fall into an empty bowl. One nurse took it away while the other unstraped the leather strap that held the boy's head down. I released the sleep jutsu and he shot up, gasping, red eyes wide. I steadied him while Ruri put the antidote to his lips, "Drink this." She ordered softly. He choked on the thick liquid, but managed to swallow most of it. I laid him back down and wiped what little of the drink that had trickled down his chin up before smiling at him, "A little rest and you'll be fine." I said patting his hand. His throat constricted and he gagged on the aftertaste of the antidote. Ruri and I both undid the straps that had held him down. He sighed softly as he drifted back to sleep.

Ruri and I were still cleaning up the disarrayed room when Mitsuko brought back her family. We both turned when the door burst open and a panicked man came in with a woman on the verge of hysteria, "How is he?!" The man asked urgently. Mitsuko and two boys came in behind their parents, Mitsuko hanging onto the oldest boy's arm. I bowed respectfully to the family, "You're son is out of danger. Could I possibly have his information so we can file it away in the hospital records?" The woman managed to get past his name, Yume Hayato, before breaking down in tears. I left it up to the boy's father to fill me in. After I procured the information I needed- his rank as a shinobi, identification number, blood type, age, and team- I shooed Ruri out and shut the door behind me.

My friend crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, "Well?" I glanced at her, "Well what?" "You're not going to gripe at me for making you stay?" She asked. I rolled my eyes, "Ruri..." I started by she cut me off, "Don't tell me you're not upset. I know that look." I glared at her, "Yeah I'm upset, but more with myself for getting into this stupid situation." Ruri frowned at me out of the corner of her eye as we started walking towards the record room, "It's your mother's fault for injuring you... not yours." She stated slowly. I shook my head, "No, I was stupid enough to think I could take her. I shouldn't have let my anger get the better of me. I should have waited for assistance from a teammate instead of just charging in. I was foolish to think that I could beat an Akatsuki member."

Ruri suddenly laughed and I looked at her in surprise, both of us stopped walking. She shook her head, "Do you hear yourself? 'I shouldn't have done this. I should have done that.' Tora, you're not perfect. So you let your anger get the best of you, everyone does sooner or later. Isn't your motto 'the past is the past'? Stop worrying about what may have happened." I opened my mouth but she cut me off again, "You are way too hard on yourself Tora. It's like somewhere deep inside yourself you're still trying to prove to everyone that you belong here... sometimes I wonder if you realize that you don't have to do that anymore. You found your place in Konoha, Tora, and no one's going to question it." She gave me a calm smile and walked away, leaving me staring after her, stunned.

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"Mama?" Tenshi asked later that night over dinner. Reiko glanced up from his report of the mission he had just finished, his mouth full of bakudan. I finished my own medical report over Hayato before looked at my daughter, "Yes sweetie?" "Can I go with Itachi-chichi tomorrow?" I closed my eyes to keep from blushing, and failed miserably. Reiko snickered quietly to himself. Ever since Tenshi had stayed the night with Itachi, she had taken to calling him her father, making me blush and everyone else laugh anytime she said it. "As long as Itachi-sama doesn't mind, I don't see a problem." I had tried to emphasize the respectful suffix, hoping that Tenshi would pick up on it, but so far she hadn't. She just clapped her hands and went back to doodling blindly on a blank scroll with a red marker, ignoring my correction.

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Kinda jumpy, but hey it's a chapter. And a long one at that. Mostly here to introduce Mitsuko's family. And to embarrass Shisui and Tora some more... U

BTW: chichi is used when talking about one's father to a group of people, just in case you're wondering.

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