Chapter 53

Disclaimer: I have no ownership over Naruto.

I think I accidentally deleted all messages in my inbox for reviews/favorites like a dummy... so no acknoledgements this chapter. XP

So... ChojixKarui... I did not realize that was a thing.

Also: the poll for Obito's fate is closed. The score as 5:4. It was kinda funny because as soon as one choice got ahead, someone else came in and said the exact opposite. Finally I got fed up and asked my friend to be the tie breaker. I won't tell you what was chosen, you'll have to wait for that ;)

LOOK HERE! I have published a new Naruto Fanfic called 'I Don't Want to be a Sensei!' I put it up last minute and on a whim, that's why I didn't tell anyone about it. Please go read it, it's being unloved! :3


I smiled reassuringly at the little boy as I set his broken arm. His wide teary eyes never left my scars, I think he was so mesmerized by them that he didn't even notice that I was practically wrenching his arm back into place. Behind me the boy's parents were frantically whispering, their voices too low to make out. I finished tying the splint around the kid's arm and set in in a sling, "There we go! All ready for healing." I said cheerfully. The boy slowly reached out with his other arm, "Can I... touch them?" He asked timidly. I blinked down at the boy, a few years ago this boy would have run screaming at the sight of me, and now he was asking to touch my scars. Mildly I wondered if people had been more scared of the idea of a Tiger Demon than they were of me physically. I leaned down so I was level with him, "Sure." I said, and laid my hand over his arm, channeling my chakra into his body to heal the broken bone while he was distracted; I didn't heal too much, it was better if the bone healed naturally so it wasn't so susceptible to future breaks.

The kid reached out and ran his fingers down my cheek, he jerked away when he felt the knotted tissue that twisted my face. I laughed a little, "They don't hurt anymore. I hardly know they're there." I told him. The boy kept staring at my face, "How'd you get them?" He asked quietly. I shook my head, "I got them when I was young. I don't remember how." I lied, there was no reason to tell a seven year old that my father had done it. "Don't worry, no one will ever do this to you. Whoever did this is long gone." The boy looked almost disappointed and I guess I didn't blame him. To a seven year old boy, scars were impressive and demanded respect. Still I didn't want a kid to ever go though what I did. The kid's mother spoke then, "Come on, Hiro, we'll go get ice cream." She said cheerfully. I helped the boy off the examination table and turned to his parents, "In three weeks he's due for a check up to see how the bone is healing. Don't let him do anything too strenuous, it might disrupt the healing process." The father nodded and bowed, "We thank you, Tora-san."

I blinked at him, surprised, "You know my name?" I asked. It was rare that a stranger recognized me, usually they didn't know who I was until I introduced myself. The man grinned, "You and your brother used to stay in my father's home during bad thunderstorms, my name is Akiyama Kumiko." I frowned at the name, "Wasn't Akiyama the one who threw us out because we upset his kid or something?" I wondered out loud. Kumiko chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his neck, "Yeah... My little sister was the one who complained. I never had a problem with you or Reiko... your brother always had funny stories." I smiled and rolled my eyes, "Yeah, he still does, only they're about his team now." Kumiko nodded, "That's good. I'm glad you two finally found your place in Konoha. And I'm happy for you Tora." He said kindly. I frowned, "For what?" I had a feeling I knew what he was going to say. Kumiko seemed to catch on to my suspicion, "For everything, not just Uchiha-sama." He said easily then grinned, "Although... it is an accomplishment to manage to get the renown Itachi-san to date anyone willingly, you should be proud." I smiled and nodded before showing Kumiko to the door.

I knew he hadn't meant it insultingly, but what Kumiko said still hurt. He made it seem that I should be honored that Itachi would pay any attention to me, let alone date me. I could understand why someone would think that. I was ugly, there was no denying the fact that if anyone turned their head to look at me it was because of my scars or because they were too drunk to notice. Maybe if I hadn't the twisting tiger stripes on my face I would be pretty, but I would never know. Now that I thought about it, I really didn't know what attracted Itachi to me. I wasn't pretty, nor did I really stand out among other people with my personality, so what did the head of the Uchiha Clan see in me? Was it because I wasn't a fangirl, could it be so simple? Or was it something more complex that I could not possible understand, even if it was explained to me?

"Well someone seems to be deep in thought." Someone said in a thin voice. My head snapped up in surprise and I looked over at Yuki laying in bed, extremely pale but awake. I hadn't even realized I had walked into her room. Yuki tilted her head to study me, "What'cha thinking about?" She rasped. I shook my head, "Nothing." I said automatically, my mind already drifting onto less troubling matters. Yuki gave a wane laugh, which turned into a weak cough, "Come on... I haven't been around in two months. I need to catch up." The red head pleaded. I sighed and sat down dejectedly, "Why does Itachi date me?" I almost wailed. Yuki gave her weak laughing cough again, "I wouldn't know... I'm still celebrating the fact that Itachi finally stopped beating around the bush and asked you out." She said jokingly. I glared at my friend, "Ha ha. You asked what I was thinking, and I told you. Be happy I did so." I snapped, though my heart wasn't really in it. I was just glad to see Yuki awake.

The teen grinned, "Why wouldn't Itachi date you? You're the only girl who can put up with his stoic personality." I rolled my eyes, "I'm sure the fangirls could too." I retorted. Yuki shook her head, "Nope, I met his ex-girlfriends, who were fangirls... they loved the notion of dating him, but they never really understood Itachi. Not like you do at least." Yuki broke off in a hacking cough and I was on my feet immediately, concerned. She waved me away while turning her head to cover up her coughing, "Don't... I've been stuck in this bed for months... you're not allowed to go all medical on me. You're here as a friend and nothing... more." She rasped, her voice scratchy from the coughing. I frowned at her, "I can't separate it you know. As your friend, I'm concerned for you, but unlike everyone else I have a means to help you so I'm going to use it if I have to." I lectured her. Yuki gave me a rueful grin, "I hate it when you get logical..." I just rolled my eyes. Yuki laid back against her mountain of pillows, her dark eyes lethargic, "Did you I never heard Itachi laugh before? Not until you kissed him that day when he was trying to help you recover from that wound your mother gave you." I blushed at the memory and glared at the girl, "I still haven't forgiven you for spying." I growled. Yuki gave a short laugh, "As long as you don't tell Itachi I was spying... He'll kill me for sure." I gave her a flat look, "As he should... you nosy teenager."

There was a soft tap at the doorway and we both looked to see an amused Gaara leaning against the doorjamb, his arms crossed over his chest. Yuki, I noticed, brighten considerably when she saw him. "She is just concerned for your honor, Tora-san." Gaara said teasingly. I shot the Kazekage a strange look, never would I have thought I would hear him joke. Then I realized what he had meant, I glared at him, "If you think Itachi would do anything dishonorable you obviously don't know him." Gaara chuckled, "How sweet of you to defend your boyfri-" He started, but someone else cut him off, "Ha! Itachi is too chicken try anything dishonorable!" My glare transferred from the Kazekage to Shisui standing at the door. Yuki gasped, "Shisui-nii!" Shisui chuckled, "Hey Yuki-imoto, I'm glad you're feeling bet- Hey!" I started shoving him out the door, "Out, too many visitors." I ordered the Uchiha. Shisui tried to stand his ground, "No it's not, the visitor limit is three people. Gaara-sama is the only visitor." He protested. I glared at my best friend, "I'm the medic here, what I say goes. Now out!" Shisui grabbed the doorway to prevent me from shoving him out, "You're mad that I called Itachi a chicken, aren't you?" He asked.

I had enough of this. I straightened and said in a dark voice I reserved just for him, "Uchiha Shisui, if you do not leave this instant, I'm telling Hana that you don't think the Haimaru brothers should be part of the ceremony!" Shisui was gone before I finished. I grinned, having suddenly discovered a way to make the goofy Uchiha behave... and I was going to enjoy it. Yuki and Gaara looked confused when I turned back around, "What are you talking about?" Yuki asked. I smirked, "I probably shouldn't tell you. I think Shisui wants to tell you himself." Gaara raised a nonexistent eyebrow but said nothing. Yuki, however, pouted, "But he's gone and won't return anytime today since you scared him off. Can't you tell me? I promise I'll be surprised when he tells me." I smiled and shook my head, "Nope. Shisui is the only one allowed to tell you." I started for the door again, bowing to the Kazekage, "I need to get back to work. Please find me if anything changes, Gaara-sama." He nodded and turned back to the very excited looking Yuki. I smiled as I started back down the hallway, happy for my friend.


Later that day, just before my shift ended, I dropped by Yuki's room again, preparing to scold her for doing something. She was almost as bad as me when it came to being a well behaved patient. I was expecting her to already be pacing around her room or something as equally dangerous to her health. I did not expect her to be sitting in her bed, looking forlorn. "Yuki?" I probed as I slid the door to her room closed. The false red haired Uchiha glanced up quickly, her navy eyes wide, before looking away again, "Oh... hey, Tora." She said, her voice devoid of all emotion. I frowned. The Yuki I knew wasn't withdrawn. She normally joked around and always had a smile on her face, even when it was obvious she was sad. I went to stand by her bedside, "Yuki, what's wrong?"

The teenage girl sniffed, "Tora... How did you know that Itachi liked you?" She asked almost reluctantly. I blinked down at the younger girl, was she really asking me for dating advice when only a few months ago she was giving the same to me? I slowly sat down in the chair by her bed, "Why are you asking?" Yuki blushed and looked away, "Never mind..." She mumbled and I frowned. Normally Yuki wasn't so reluctant to share information; usually I was the one who clammed up. Unless... "Does this have to do with Gaara-sama? Did he do something?" I asked. Yuki's face turned even darker and she refused me meet my gaze. I crossed my arms, "Yuki, you had better tell me before I inform Itachi of this problem. I don't think even Gaara will be able to withstand an overprotective Uchiha Prodigy." Yuki gave me a glare that could peel paint, but after spending years with Itachi and Shisui I had grown immune. I just raised an eyebrow expectantly.

When she didn't answer I sighed, "Yuki..." I paused, not sure what to say exactly. I wasn't even confident in my own relationship! How could I give advice to someone else? Taking a breath I continued, answering her question instead of pushing why she wanted to know, "I don't know when exactly Itachi started liking me back, I never asked him. He's always treated me nicely, even when I was shunned by the rest of the village. He may not have shown it well, being somewhat of an introvert... but Itachi never treated me any different than he did anyone else. And that meant more to me than anything."

Yuki looked at her hands, "So... you think Gaara could eventually like me back?" She asked quietly. I frowned, "Why, what happened?" I probed. If Gaara was rude to her in anyway, I'd murder him, and I didn't care if he was the Kazekage or not! Yuki, seeming to read my thoughts, shook her head, "Nothing bad. I just don't get the feeling that he likes me as much as I like him." She said, sounding miserable. I smiled, I was going to enjoy proving her wrong, "Yuki, you do realize that Gaara-sama came all the way from Suna when he heard you were in the hospital, right?" Yuki shook her head, "He said he has something to discuss with the Hokage." I had a feeling that that was an excuse, but I let it slide, "Fine then. Right before the Fire Festival, I had been injured and put in the hospital. I was in your room when he came in and we had a very interesting conversation concerning you." Yuki perked up a little, "Really? About what exactly?" I smirked and stood, "You'll have to ask Gaara-sama. It not my place to tell you." I said. Yuki crossed her arms and pouted, "I'm in the hospital, you're supposed to be nice to me." She grumbled. I chuckled, "No one is never nice to me here, but that could be because I'm not nice back. Get some sleep Yuki, I don't want you to go back under so soon." Yuki gave me a closed eyed grin, "Alright Tora-onee!" I glared at her, "Sasuke told you to say that, didn't he?" I growled. Yuki blinked, "No... wait, he's done the same thing?" I stomped out of her room without answering, Yuki's rancorous laughing following me.


So the tables were turned and Tora got to make Yuki admit something... until that last part and Yuki once again triumphed! lol

QUESTION TIME! Thunderstorms: What is your opinion on them? Answer: Love them until they knock out my power...

My birthday was yesterday! A review from your lovely self would be a wonderful belated birthday present for me! ^^ lol

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