Resting and Recovering
Minato practically kicked the Hokage's door down. He was tired, frustrated, and worried. Jiraiya followed behind him nonchalantly, looking a hell of a lot better than his student. Sarutobi tapped his pipe over the edge of his ashtray causing the burnt soot to fall into it. He placed the pipe in its holder and calmly looked at Minato. "Welcome back." Jiraiya gave a short nod but Minato seemed to shiver.
"Can I go see Naruto? He's ok right? Is he at home, or is he staying with Kushina?" Jiraiya put a hand out to calm the blonde and Sarutobi sighed. "Minato, your brother was near death when he came in, and from what I heard he almost didn't survive the surgery. He's still in the intensive care ward I believe. He's stable enough that they started to allow visitors yesterday but that might have been just to shut those two friends of his up." Minato managed to look even more worried yet relieved at the same time.
"So I can go see him?" Sarutobi looked at Jiraiya who shrugged. "Is there anything that you know that would be critical to Jiraiya's explanation?" Minato shook his head quickly and Sarutobi sighed. "I'll let you go since you look like death on your feet, but I expect you to write a report before you sleep tonight and forget what happened. If you see Kushina ask her to help you. I'm sure she'd be happy for the distraction." Minato nodded practically vibrating with the need to visit his brother. Sarutobi waved his hand and Minato was out of the office so fast, Jiraiya suspected he might have used his hiraishin.
The world was a blur as Minato made his way to the hospital. It was the middle of the night so all the honest folk had gone home and he didn't have to apologize for bumping into some even once. Practically running through the hospital doors, he jogged to the front desk and took a deep breath.
"?" The lady from behind the desk stared at him for a good long few seconds before saying, "Excuse me?" Minato sighed and said, slower this time, "I need to see my brother, Namikaze Naruto." The lady turned and grabbed her clipboard, flipping through a few pages.
"Your name?" "Namikaze Minato." "Ah, I thought so. You need to sign these before we can release him into your custody." The lady handed him another clipboard that was struggling to keep all of the papers in its clip. Minato sighed and grabbed a pen. It took him nearly ten minutes of scanning and signing. Ten horrifying minutes that worsened the more he read what he was signing off to. The pages were essentially him saying that he had given Kushina permission to give the surgical team permission to perform certain procedures, and there were a lot of procedures. They didn't go into much detail, and half of the bulk was what Kushina had signed that he had to resign. When he finally finished, the pen was starting to run out and his fingers ached. The lady behind the desk had made him a special after hours visitor tag while he was signing the never ending stack of papers, and handed it to him as he handed her the clipboard. "He's in room 304. Try to be quiet please, it is the ICU ward." Minato nodded and gave her his thanks.
The elevator ride was short and long at the same time. He was giddy and worried, and tons of other emotions tumbled through him that had not let him rest more than a few minutes in the last week. He had large black bags under his eyes, and he wasn't sure of the wrinkles on his forehead from frowning would ever leave. The door number jumped out in front of him as he walked down the white hallway and his heart started pounding. Opening the door slowly and quietly, he was taken aback by what he saw.
"Was it a success?" Sarutobi said, taking his hat off. He had been about to retire for the night when Jiraiya sent him a toad announcing their arrival. It took them an hour to arrive, during which Hiruzen scrubbed his eyes and had his assistant pour him a cup of strong tea. "The mission was a success, yes. The injuries that the team took make me consider this a giant failure. How are the 4 we sent here 2 months ago?" Sarutobi nodded and said, "They all survived. The woman might turn into an admirer of yours; I've heard that she talks about how you bravely saved her." Sarutobi sighed when Jiraiya's face turned lecherous.
"Moving on please." The Hokage said and Jiraiya frowned slightly. "It was a success, don't worry about that. Kushina did her job and used lightning. The last I heard before I left was that they were blaming Kumo, and I wouldn't be surprised if we hear of strained relations in the next coming weeks. With the attack on us that Iwa tried to pin on Kumo, I wouldn't be surprised if we managed to come to a peace treaty to take down those stone dogs." Sarutobi made a non-committal noise. "I need you to leave again. I need you to get in contact with Tsunade; she has some information that I need."
Jiraiya sighed. Ever since she had discovered gambling and how bad she was at it she was reluctant to stay in one place for longer than a few days. It'd be a pain in the ass to find her. "Really? It's going to take me months to find her. She's really good at hiding. Who's the information from?" Jiraiya said, whining like he was 12. "It's from Orochimaru. He with a bit of Tsunade's help I hear, have discovered something new for the hospitals. That's all I can say until I get it though."
"What about the brat? How was he? Is he likely to wake up soon?" Hiruzen shook his head tiredly. His hair looked greyer at night. "He's alive. He's still in the medically induced coma. They are taking that away from him tomorrow I hear so he might wake up then, provided that the damage wasn't too great and he just never wakes up." Jiraiya sucked his breath in. He didn't even want to think what Minato would do if the brat died on him.
"Well, do you mind if I stay to see if he wakes up? I've grown... attached. He's really something." Sarutobi's eyes turned hard for a moment before he shut them. "Anything suspicious?" Jiraiya frowned and looked down. "Some things he told me were lies, or partial lies. He seemed really reluctant to lie to me though. When I first met him he looked at me like I was a ghost as well. It was weird. I haven't really pondered on it though; I'll get back to you about it when I get back." Sarutobi nodded when Jiraiya finished speaking and bid him a good night and good luck. Jiraiya sighed, inclined his head and left the room with a quiet click of the door. Sarutobi just sighed harder.
Minato froze as he fully processed what he saw. Kushina was snoring softly with her head resting on Naruto's bed. Her hair was a mess of red falling down her back with some of it almost touching the floor. He noticed the messy cot that had been laid in the corner and the vases of garishly coloured flowers and cards that decorated the night stand beside his bed. When Minato finally gathered enough courage to look at his brother he found that he had walked to the bedside quiet enough to not disturb Kushina.
There was an oxygen mask covering the blonde's face and when Minato looked closer he saw that his younger brother had a tube shoved down his throat. The blonde's hand crept to his throat and he grimaced. Peeking under the thin blanket he saw the mass of bandages that were wound around his torso, but other than that, Naruto looked like he was sleeping relatively peacefully. Tucking the corner back in Kushina moaned and Minato jumped at the noise.
Sitting up and rubbing her eyes she looked up at the blonde and before he could say anything she stood up and threaded her arms under his and squeezed him tightly to her. Minato blushed a bit at first but when she started to quietly sob he just wrapped his arms around her and rested his head on top of hers. When she finally stopped and pulled away, she wiped her eyes and smiled at Minato. "I'm glad you're home. Naruto's healing really well apparently."
The red-head gazed back at the blonde teenager on the bed. She then realized that she was still holding onto Minato for dear life and blushed and pulled away completely. Both adults immediately pined for the other's warmth. Minato broke the awkward silence that followed. "Have you been sleeping here the entire week?" Kushina looked down. "Yes... I mean, I go home to eat and shower, but I spend the nights here. It's my fault he's like this..." Her trailing off was interrupted by Minato grabbing her shoulders and saying, "No, Kushina, never. If it wasn't for you Naruto would be dead! I'm nothing but grateful to yo-mmmmfff..." It was Minato's turn to be cut off as Kushina quickly covered his mouth with her own. After a moment when shock of what she had done had worn off she tried to pull back and apologize but Minato pulled her back to him and slid a hand into her hair and held the back of her head.
Kushina nearly melted. She closed her eyes and unconsciously leaned into the kiss, her hands gripped the back of Minato's flax vest. When the kiss finally broke both were left breathing heavily and red-faced. Kushina let her head rest on his chest listening to Minato struggle to get his heart beat under control as she tried the same. "Uh... S-so, does this mean you'll go to dinner tomorrow?" Kushina laughed and nodded before finally pulling away.
"What time is it?" Kushina asked, looked at the darkness outside the window. "About 3 am." Minato replied. Kushina gave him a sweet smile that held a tenderness about it that set his heart aflutter again. "I'm going home to sleep in my bed. I should sleep nicely now that I know Naruto-kun is being watched over by you. I'll see you tomorrow at 5." Minato waved still slightly in a daze and Kushina hurriedly exited the room. Minato sat down in the chair beside Naruto's bed and peeled his dirty vest off. Resting his head down on the bed, he only had enough time to blush at the tingling feeling Kushina's lips had left behind before the week of practically no sleep caught up with him hard.
He felt like he had been floating for a long time, despite not actually having any memory of it. His muscles were stiff and sore and as he tried to move he found that he couldn't. His breathing became erratic and his heart beat sped up as he started to panic, it was then that Namikaze Naruto's eyelids snapped open.
"Welcome to the world of the living." An achingly familiar voice said to his right. It took more effort than it should have to turn his head and take in the sight of Jiraiya. The white haired man had been jotting notes down, but stopped when he saw the signs of the boy waking up. Before he could control himself, tears sprung to Naruto's blue eyes. "Y-you're alive..." he said quietly, his voice raspy with disuse. Jiraiya looked at him quizzically before replying, "Yes. Did you think I had died? How did I die?" Naruto made an effort to reach his face and wipe away tears and felt mildly impressed that it wasn't as tiring as he expected it to be. "Pain killed you, I mean... Baa-chan showed me your body." Jiraiya's eyes narrowed and Naruto pulled his hand away from his eyes and looked at it. He then looked at Jiraiya's face and bit his lip before dropping his hand.
Oops. Jiraiya still had his eyes narrowed at the blonde who hastily said, "Sorry... I think I was dreaming. How long was I out?" Jiraiya still had his eyes narrowed and Naruto was sure he'd hear more about this later, but right before Sennin opened his mouth to answer the door opened and admitted another familiar blonde. "Sensei I got you a bowl of shrimp, they didn't have any pork left-Naruto-kun!" Minato looked like he was about to drop the bowls of ramen, but he gently set them on the table beside his bed.
Reaching out to touch his hand Minato freely let tears run from his eyes. "Ni-san, stop crying, I'm fine. Just a little sore. You're acting like I was never going to wake up." Reaching out to ruffle his younger brother's hair like he used to, Naruto slapped his hand away and Minato couldn't help but laugh. He pulled his brother into a hug that was tight enough to make Naruto grunt with pain, after which Minato immediately let go.
"How long have I been out?" Naruto asked again. The fact that his brother was crying clued him into the fact that he may have been out for as long as a week this time. The poor guy was always such a worry wart. Minato's face managed to look worried and relieved at the same time. "Naruto-kun, you've been in a coma for almost 6 weeks." Naruto gawked.
"What!" he managed to shout. Minato reached over and pressed the red flashing button that was attached to Naruto's finger. "Everyone's been worried. Kushina-chan slept here for the first week before I got back and we took turns for a while after you didn't wake up when they took you out of the induced coma." Minato paused, trying to push down the emotions that were surfacing. "Everyone thought you weren't going to wake up... Don't ever do that to me again." Naruto looked up at his brother with a lopsided smile. "Don't worry, I don't ever intend to."
The door to the room opened just as Jiraiya finished his ramen and Minato started in on his. He had tried to give it to Naruto, but Jiraiya wouldn't let him. The last thing they needed was Naruto puking his guts out all over them because they didn't introduce food back into him properly. The door admitted a doctor who at first glance looked like Shizune to Naruto. He was hit with a pang of sadness for everyone that had lost their lives for stupid reasons.
"Ah, you're awake! I'm sure the Hokage and Uzumaki-san will be glad." Naruto smiled weakly for her, just the conversation with his brother had left him tired. "How are you feeling, any nausea?" Naruto shook his head and she clicked a pen light and flashed it in his eyes, checking his pupil dilations. "Any soreness?" "I'm sore all over. It pretty much feels like I haven't moved in 6 weeks." The doctor smiled and moved to his next eye.
"What about your breathing? Does it feel wet or hurt at all?" Naruto drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. "A little of both actually." The doctor who looked like Shizune lifted the back of his shirt and pressed a cold stethoscope to it and listened to him breath for a few seconds before pulling his shirt down. Naruto leaned back and she said, "There is a bit of liquid in your lungs from lying down for so long, and the soreness is probably from the bruising left over on your rib bones that were broken. The liquid should clear up when you start physical therapy to work out the atrophy in your muscles, and the bruising should heal on its own." Minato nodded and Naruto's eyes fluttered. He was really feeling tired now. The doctor patted his head and said, "Sleep and rest. It's the body's best medicine." Naruto briefly heard his brother say something before he slipped away into bliss.
When the blonde next awoke it was dark. Looking down to his right he spotted Minato's spikes sleeping on the corner of his bed. Sitting up he tried to stretch his aching back and work his arms a little more. "Mmm, Naruto-kun? You're awake again?" Minato sat up and rubbed his eyes before giving his younger brother a large smile.
"Will you let me try and walk to the bathroom?" Naruto said, fully aware of his henning tendencies when he was hurt. Minato looked pensive, and almost said 'no', but ultimately gave in to Naruto's large pleading eyes. "I guess, but I will be right beside you in case you can't support yourself yet. Here, put these on the floor is cold." Minato handed Naruto a pair of slippers which he got on with minimal struggle. He awkwardly stood up and took a couple of steps. "Well, I just feel sore and tired, not really any weaker. Is that a good thing?" Minato nodded with a small smile. Naruto took a couple more steps gaining his balance back with each one. By the time he reached the bathroom he felt almost normal. He was glad his muscles hadn't atrophied as much as everyone had feared.
On the way back to the bed, Naruto's stomach rumbled and Minato laughed. "Come on, the doctor said that when you woke you'd be hungry and that if you felt like it you could try some juice and apple sauce. I'll even let you try and walk down with me if you want." Naruto's eyes widened. "Who are you and what have you done with my brother?" he said, the Minato he knew would have tied him to the bed so he could serve him with a spoon rather than take the risk he'd over exert himself. Minato just laughed and helped him get a robe on.
If the doctors thought that Naruto's body healed itself unusually fast, they would have been astounded at how fast he got his coordination back. By the time they had finished their meals Naruto was talking and laughing and was able to walk almost as well as he had before. Aside from fatigue, Naruto felt almost normal.
It was 11pm and Kushina was tired. She had just arrived from her mission and she was a mess of sore muscles. Maybe Minato would give her a massage. She was suddenly thankful for the mask she wore; otherwise her teammates would never let the blush that graced her face down. They reported back to their commander rather than the Hokage as he was at home presumably. Kushina spaced out during most of the briefing. She knew that she wouldn't have anything to add and so did her teammates. When they were done her commander called her name. Spinning on her heel she sent the commander an inquisitive look. He told her that the Hokage had left her a message saying that Minato needed to see her in the hospital.
Stowing her mask away she walked at a brisk pace to the hospital. Minato had never sent her a message like this before and worry blossomed in her chest. At the hospital the lady at the desk just nodded her through giving her no indication of what was wrong. She made her way to Naruto's room, but just as she was about to reach for the door knob a voice rang down the hallway.
"Uzumaki-san! If you are looking for Namikaze-san he's down in the cafeteria." Kushina gave the nurse a hurried thanks and turned to go back down to the first floor. When she opened the door to the modest cafeteria, she quickly spotted Minato's blonde mop. What she wasn't expecting was a second blonde mop sitting across from him.
"Naruto-kun?" Naruto whipped his head around at the sound of his name. He saw Kushina with her hands raised to her mouth and gave her a foxy grin. Kushina rushed in and gave Naruto a tight hug.
"Hey ne-chan, apparently it's been a while. How are you?" Kushina pulled back and pushed some of Naruto's hair out of his eyes. She planted a kiss on his forehead and Naruto blushed. "You had me so worried. When did you wake up?" Minato answered instead of a Naruto. "He first woke up two days ago and then again just a few hours ago. I'm going to talk to the doctor tomorrow morning about when he can come home. His muscles didn't atrophy like we had worried they had." Kushina smiled and slipped around the table onto Minato's lap. Minato slipped his arms around her waist oblivious to the looks he was getting from Naruto.
"When did this happen?" Naruto said waving his arms around to indicate Kushina and Minato. Minato looked a little embarrassed and Kushina had smiled but didn't answer. "Around the time I got back I guess." Naruto crossed his arms and said, "Ok. That's cool." Minato looked a little surprised. "You're ok with this?" Naruto laughed.
"Yes I am," Naruto said, "It was disgustingly obvious how much you two liked each other during the mission. To everyone." Minato and Kushina both put their faces in their palms and groaned while Naruto just laughed. "Oh! Speaking of! Was the mission a success? I guess I didn't really get to see the end of it. Tell me how you escaped ni-san! How did I get out?" Kushina and Minato looked at each other and spent the next hour telling him in hushed tones what had happened. By the time they had finished the blonde was nodding off and his brother was ushering him back to his bed. He stayed awake long enough to see Minato and Kushina leave hand in hand and smiled before sleep took over and he dreamt of his Hinatas.
End of Chapter 15
He's awake! Next Chapter: Naruto gets a few more surprises sprung on him!