Chapter Twenty-Seven: Mission Failed, Friends Saved
Once Kakashi found Naruto, he slowly picked up the unconscious blonde and began to move, heading back to the village. As Kakashi jumped from branch to branch, Naruto slowly regained consciousness and found himself moving at a fast pace high in the trees.
"Kakashi-Sensei….." Naruto said quietly, causing Kakashi to look back at his student. "Where's Sasuke?"
Kakashi continued to look back, thinking of a way how he should answer Naruto's question. Suddenly a shadow was seen over Naruto. But it was only the Medical Nin coming from Konoha. They came to see if Naruto was alright but found Kakashi had him.
"Kakashi…." One started. "How is Naruto Uzumaki's condition?"
"He's fine." Kakashi answered.
"And Sasuke? Where is Sasuke Uchiha?" he asked next.
Kakashi just remained silent as he shook his head. Naruto just looked forward, knowing that Sasuke was gone. The Medical Nin understood and just returned his sights forward as he, Kakashi and the others continued to move through the forest.
"What's the situation with the other Genin?" Kakashi asks.
"Yes. By Lady Tsunade's orders, the first and second medic teams were dispatched, and have already taken the injured to receive emergency treatment." one Medical Nin explained.
"And their conditions?" Kakashi asked.
"Yes. Shikamaru Nara's injury is minor. Kiba Inuzuka has a deep wound, but his live isn't in danger." The first explained. "Also, Rock Lee and Kazumi Hatake returned with a few scratches and bruises."
"Neji Hyuuga and Choji Akimichi are both in critical condition." Explained the second. "For now, their recovery is uncertain."
Naruto was listening as the medical team explained. But soon he started to lose consciousness once more. But just before he did, he saw his teammates; Shikamaru, Kiba, Kazumi, Neji and Choji flying ahead of him.
"Everyone….." Naruto thought and soon blacked out.
Back at Konoha, Choji was still in the emergency treatment unit being treated. Tsunade was sitting at a desk, searching through a book as she started creating antidotes with healing herbs and her knowledge of Medical Ninjutsu.
"The medicinal ingredients and effects are well researched…. As expected….." Tsunade thought. "Bring me a deer's antler!" she yelled.
"Yes." Called out one assistant as Tsunade began to crush herbs and medicine inside a small bowl in front of her.
"How is he, sis?" Kiba asked his sister, who was checking on Akamaru. Kiba was lying in bed as he looked at the two.
"He won't be walking for a while." She told him as she softly petted Akamaru. "The muscles in his arms and legs are damaged."
"Sis, you're a vet, aren't you?" Kiba asked. "Can't something….."
"Don't worry. It'll take some time, but his life Is not in danger." She assured Kiba as he winced in pain. "No walking for you, either."
"Yeah, I understand." Kiba said with a chuckle.
Inside Intensive Care Unit 7, Medical Nin were still working on Neji. Slowly and carefully, they were slowly fixing the injuries Kidoumaru's attack inflicted on him.
"It's been almost three hours. Switch with me!" One Medial Min said to the other.
"Alright!" he answered.
"Although we're using this child's hair as a medium, please don't make a mistake in the cell ratio of the damaged area!" Ordered Shizune.
"Yes." Replied the Medical Nin who was switching out.
"The chakra control must have pinpoint precision!" Shizune added.
"Understood." He said.
Neji grunted in pain as the procedure continued.
Outside the doors of Intensive Care Unit 6, Shikamaru sat outside, fidgeting with his fingers with one being wrapped in a finger case. Temari was sitting just across from him, as she waited as well.
"It's pointless to be so fidgety." Temari told him. "Sacrifices are an inevitable part of missions. You received emotional training, didn't you?" Shikamaru just sat there, glaring.
"Training is different from actual combat…." He told her. "I knew what missions would consist of, and I thought I understood what the world of shinobi was like. This was the first time I was made team captain for a mission, and now I understand….. I'm not cut out to be a shinobi."
"You are unexpectedly boring even though you are acting like a man." Temari replied.
"I shouldn't have been team captain this time." Shikamaru said as he stood up. "All I did was put my trust in everyone else. I was too naïve. I didn't have enough strength. It's all my fault!"
"Are you afraid of being hurt?" asked Temari.
Shikamaru didn't answer. Instead he just walked off. As he walked pass a hallway, his father was standing there. "Shikamaru…." He said, causing his son to stop. "You're being talked down to by a girl and now you're running away?"
"It's troublesome." Shikamaru replied as he looked back. "I don't want to have an argument. I'm not a girl."
"Yeah..." Shikaku said. "But you're not a man, either. You're just a spineless coward. Even if you quit being a shinobi, missions will still occur. Someone will carry them out. Your friends will just be assigned to a new leader. And then, they might all die. But, if you are captain, your friends might not end up that way. If you look at this time as a learning experience, and grow from it, maybe you'll be able to carry out your missions perfectly."
Shikamaru continued to stand there in silence as he listen to his father's words. Even Temari was paying attention to the two.
"If your friends are really important to you….before you think about running away….consider becoming greater for the sake of your friends!" Shikaku told him. "That's what it means to be a real friend! You damn coward!"
As Shikamaru stood there, the light over the door switched off. The door opened and Lady Tsunade walked out. She saw Shikamaru, Shikaku and Temari all waiting out in the hall.
"It's alright now. The continuous cellular destructive effects of the pills were stopped by an antidote I created." She explained as she took a seat. "Thanks for your help, Shikaku. The special medical manual of the Nara Clan was extremely useful. That must've been difficult to put together. The results of continuing studies?"
"Thank you." Shikaku replies.
"Tsunade!" Shizune yelled as she ran down the hall and coming to a stop with a smile on her face. "Neji Hyuuga….. He's in stable condition! I also have some information. Just now, Kakashi Hatake and Naruto Uzumaki returned. And although he was injured, his life is not in danger."
"Two of them?" Tsunade said quietly to herself. "Shikamaru, it seems your mission was a failure. But, everyone's alive. That's the most important thing."
As Shikamaru stood there, tears were falling from his eyes and down to the floor under him. "Next time, I will carry out the mission perfectly!" Shikamaru says.
Naruto was sitting up in his hospital bed, staring down at Sasuke's scratched headband. As he sat there, Sasuke's and Sakura's faces popped into his head. He was soon brought out of his thoughts when he heard the door. He looked up to see Shikamaru standing by the door.
"So, you're awake after all." Shikamaru says.
"Shikamaru!" Naruto said happily.
Meanwhile, two girls were standing at the check-in desk inside the hospital. It was none other than Ino and Sakura.
"I'm going to see Choji first." Ino told Sakura. "How about you?"
"I'm going to see Sasuke first, then Naruto and Kazumi." She replied.
Shikamaru was sitting on the end of Naruto's bed, just finishing telling him what everyone's current condition was.
"I see. So everyone was all right after all." Naruto said quietly. "I'm glad."
"And what about Sasuke?" Shikamaru asks.
"Yeah….. He got away." Naruto answered. Just as Naruto said that, Sakura was at the door and heard it. As she stood there, her hand fell from the door handle and hung limply at her side. As Sakura stood there looking depressed, she started hearing footsteps.
"You came to pay a visit?" Tsunade asked causing her to look up. "Information spreads quickly." With that, Sakura and Tsunade entered and saw Naruto sitting up, along with Shikamaru who was sitting on the end of the bed.
"Naruto…" Sakura said quietly.
"I heard that you were severely wounded, but you look fine." Tsunade told Naruto.
"I'm sorry, Sakura-chan." Naruto said quietly.
"Why are you apologizing?" Sakura asked as she forced a smile on her face and soon went over to open the curtain. "As usual, you probably overdid it, right? Geez, you look like a mummy."
"I'm sorry…I…" Naruto started.
"Hey, since the weather is nice, let's open the curtains." She says.
"Sakura-chan! I will definitely keep my promise!" Naruto yells. "Because… I told you that it's the promise of a lifetime! I…."
"It's alright." She says.
"Sakura, you know he-!" Shikamaru started.
"I always…..said that to you….. I will not go back on my word!" Naruto says. "Because that's my ninja way!"
"Naruto….. Thank you." Sakura says with a small smile.
Naruto, Shikamaru and Tsunade all looked towards Sakura, seeing that she had a real smile on her face. But Sakura knew that she would have to do something in order to help Naruto bring back Sasuke. She had to stop feeling useless and become someone that will be helpful and not a nuisance in the future. That's when she decided.
"I have to hurry up and heal these wounds, and then get Sasuke back." Naruto thought as he lay there in bed. But suddenly, there was a loud crashing sound. "What's that?!" he asked as he got out of bed. Naruto pulled back the curtains and opened the window to see a large toad standing in front of the hospital. "Huh? Prevy Sage!" Naruto said.
"Yo!" Jiraiya replied.
As he sat there, Jiraiya tried to explain to Naruto that he should just give up on Sasuke, that it was unless to try to bring him back. however, Naruto refused and said that he will do whatever it takes to bring back his friend. After seeing that he won't change the blonde's mind, Jiraiya decided that he would train Naruto for three years. Preparing him for the fight against Akatsuki that was to come.
As Jiraiya and Naruto talked, Kazumi was in the room next door, and was just regaining consciousness. She slowly opened her eyes and found the room was lit by the setting sun, giving the room an orange tint to it. Slowly and carefully, Kazumi sits up and set her sights on her wrists, which she found to be wrapped in bandages.
Kazumi's Point of View:
"That's right. Gaara, Lee and I fought and defeat Kimimaru." I said quietly to myself.
"Well, look who's awake." I heard a voice say. I snapped my head up to see my brother leaning against the wall, reading one of his books. "Yo." He greeted as he held one hand in the air.
"Onii-chan, you made it back from your mission!" I said happily. "When did you get back?"
"Well, I came back earlier and found that you and the other Genin were sent out to retrieve Sasuke. After hearing this, I rushed out to stop them from fighting, but I was too late." Kakashi explained. "But I was able to bring back Naruto."
"Is, is he okay?!" I quickly ask. "And what about the others?! Are they alright?!"
"Easy, easy." Kakashi tells me as he makes his way to my bedside. "Everyone is fine. A little beaten up but they will all live."
"Phew. That good to hear." I said calmly. "So… What about Sasuke?"
"He's gone." Kakashi said. "When I got there, he had already left. All that remained was his scratched headband."
"I guess neither your talk or Naruto's changed his mind." I mumbled but I knew Kakashi heard it. "He was always stubborn. He would never listen to the voice of reason."
"Kazumi?" Kakashi said.
"I let my better judgment get the best of me." I growled. "I could have done more. I should have done more."
As I sat there, I balled both hands into fists. I just glared at my injuries. I knew I could have done more to stop Sasuke. I should have done more. If I had, Sasuke would probably still be here. I was so deep in thought that I didn't notice that as I continued to get angry, a spark of lightning would appear. Not only that but white chakra also appeared. Kakashi, however, quickly took notice of this.
"Kazumi!" Kakashi says as he placed a hand on my fist, causing me to snap out of my trance to look up at him. "Kazumi, you need to calm down. You don't want to strain yourself."
"Yeah, you're right. You're right." I said quietly as I calmed myself down.
"Amazing. A spark of lightning and white chakra appeared and she didn't even notice." Kakashi thought. "She may have some serious power. It just needs to be channeled and controlled to be released correctly."
"Poor, Naruto. I wonder how he's handle it?" I thought.
"Kazumi?" Kakashi calls.
"Yeah." I answered as I looked up at my brother.
Kakashi soon places a hand on top of my head. "Get some rest, okay. I have to leave for a mission, but I'll be back to check up on you."
"Okay, Onii-chan. Be careful and make it back, okay." I told him.
"Always am, always will." He says as he gives her his famous eye-smile.