Chapter 15- In the Hospital
Asami sighed. It had been a few days since Kakashi had visited. She missed him but she understood that he had work to do. Kayo had come by to visit and Asami had asked her about the village. Kayo said she had been put back on active duty because they had lost so many ninja in the attack, the village forces were cut in half. And they were short one Hokage. Asami had thanked her for the news and wished her well, reminding her that she could come by anytime she needed anything.
It was then that Asami realized Kakashi had shared no news with her. She growled to herself, if he was going to be a part of her life then he would have to learn the rules. She was no delicate princess that needed to be sheltered. She would rather know the facts and be prepared. That was how her mother had been and that's how she was. She knew full well the risks that a ninja's life came with. She had lost both her parents to them. And she knew full well the pain she opened herself up to in loving Kakashi, but she also knew the joy they could have. And her mother had always said you could never live in the ifs of life.
She put away the last of the dishes and prepared to go upstairs. Another quiet night. She had never minded them before so why did they seem different? She knew the answer even as she asked the question, a certain masked ninja had inserted himself in her heart and the house just seemed empty without him. She knew that even if he lived with her she would spend most nights alone but at least when he was home he'd be with her. She sighed again and reminded herself not to live in the ifs.
She had just gotten to the top of the stairs when she heard her name being called. "Asami!" She looked and saw Sakura running towards her. "Asami!" Sakura practically vaulted up the stairs to her and then stood there trying to catch her breath.
"Sakura, what is it?"
"Oh, it's terrible! Kakashi-sensei is in a coma!" Sakura said, still panting heavily.
Asami's head spun as if she was going to fall and the words slowly began to make sense as she regained her balance. "What do you mean? What happened?"
"Well I know there was a battle but I don't know who they fought and" Sakura started to cry "Kakashi-sensei's hurt! I knew you'd want to know."
"You're right. Thank you for letting me know. Now let's calm you down." She led the young kunoichi into her house and started some tea. "Do you know anything else, Sakura?"
Sakura was starting to calm down on her own "No, not really. I ran into Sasuke who was looking for Naruto and Jiraiya and he told me the little that he knew and then ran off."
Asami gave Sakura a cup of tea and sat down with her own. "Hmmm. I wonder why he was looking for Jiraiya? Did he say?"
"No. He just ran off. Boys!"
Asami smiled, she knew exactly how Sakura felt. "Is Kakashi at the hospital?"
"I think so. Do you want me to bring you to him?"
Asami thought carefully about this. She wasn't sure who knew about their developing relationship and she wasn't sure she was ready to announce it in such a public way. Also, visiting him wouldn't help, she was not medical ninja, she was simply an onigiri chef. "I don't think so, Sakura. I don't know that Kakashi would want that. If he comes out of his coma and you talk to him tell him I'm thinking of him." It would be the hardest thing she ever had to do to stay away, but she knew it was best this way.
"Ok Asami. I will. I'm sorry to bring bad news and leave but my Mom is probably expecting me home soon."
"It's ok Sakura. I appreciate that you took time for me. You're a good friend, both for Kakashi and me." She smiled at the young girl and thought about how much growing up she would be doing in the next few years. She wondered what kind of young woman she would turn out to be. "Bye Sakura-chan. Please let me know if anything changes."
"I will Asami. I promise!" And with that she was off for home.
Asami sat down heavily. The full weight of what had happened hit her. She might never see Kakashi again! She thought about the fact that he didn't even know how much she cared and she resolved that if, no when, she saw him next she would make sure he knew. No matter how uncomfortable it made him. Then she sat there.
Asami heard a knock at the door and jumped. She realized with a start that she was sitting in the dark and wondered how that had happened. She turned on a light and got up to answer the door dreading it in her heart. Kichirou was standing there with a look of concern on his face. She searched his eyes to see if he had news but couldn't tell.
"Asami." His arms engulfed her. "Have you heard?"
"If you mean that Kakashi is in a coma, yes. Please don't tell me that you have even worse news."
"No. I wanted to be sure you knew. I know you don't want to be sheltered." He didn't fully understand this side of his sister but he knew her well enough to know that she would rather know the full extent of the situation. That was less terrifying for her than wondering.
"Thank you oto-" she stood on tiptoes to see over his shoulder and wondered when he had gotten so tall, there was no one else there, "ototo-chan."
"I came alone. Everyone else is busy. Have you eaten?"
Asami suddenly realized that she had been sitting in her living room since Sakura had left. She probably would have sat there until morning if Kichirou hadn't come by. "I haven't. Are you hungry? I can cook for both of us."
Kichirou followed her into the house. "I'll cook oni-san. You keep me company."
Asami sighed, thankful for the affection and companionship and followed him into the kitchen. She was also thankful that she'd taught him to cook.
Kichirou started a light supper for them. "You and Kakashi have been spending a lot of time together, haven't you?"
"Yes. Is it that obvious?"
"Well to a younger brother who knows his sister it is. I'm glad. He's an amazing man and he couldn't find a better woman in all the world! Is it official?"
"What do you mean by official? I don't think we've been in public together unless you count him getting me home from the hospital the day I broke my ankle. Of course he did carry me all the way home."
Kichirous' eyebrows went up, this was a rumor he had not heard. "He carried you all the way from the hospital?"
Asami blushed a little, "yeah. Right in front of Genma, Raido and Anko. I'm surprised no one has said anything."
"Honestly Asami, Kakashi isn't the type of guy you tease lightly. I've heard other rumors but not that one."
"What have you heard?" Her ears perked up, she wondered what Konoha was saying about them.
"Just on the training fields, no one has the nerve to repeat anything where he might hear it." He laughed, the truth was if what you said was true, it was fine. Kakashi wasn't one to shy away from the facts even if he was private. But if it was false, or mean, well you got a free training battle with Kakashi and he probably wouldn't hold back. Yeah, you'd spend a few days recovering from that training. "There's just a lot of chatter about the fact that Kakashi hasn't been at the jonin lounge a lot lately and that he seems to have developed a taste for onigiri. It didn't take me long to figure out that it probably wasn't your food that was enticing him to visit, as delicious as it is." He smiled at his older sister. She was beautiful and he was glad she seemed to be falling in love. "What are you're feelings in all this?"
Asami regarded her younger brother, who didn't seem so young anymore. She sighed and said "I think, no I know, I'm in love with him. When he's here it just seems so right. As if he belongs here, watching me cook or just passing an evening together. It always feels so empty when he's left."
Kichirou wondered just how serious it had gotten but wasn't sure he was brave enough to ask. He did know, or thought he knew, that his sister hadn't even dated. Up until a couple of years ago he had lived here and she'd spent all her time with him or the stand. Things had apparently changed since he'd moved out. He decided to to take a chance. "Asami."
"Have you ever had a boyfriend?" He hoped he wasn't crossing the line by asking. It seemed like such a personal question to ask the person you thought of as your mother.
Asami smiled. Kichirou had grown up, he would never have asked that question otherwise. "No Kichirou. I was always busy with you and the stand. Not that I minded. I've had a good life and raising you was the most amazing experience! I loved every moment of it. To be honest I don't think I ever wanted one until Kakashi showed up at my door last month."
Kichirou smiled at her. "I'm glad it's Kakashi. I like him a lot. I don't know him very well but he has an amazing reputation. And he'll be fine. He's a very strong ninja."
Asami smiled at her brother and reflected that, once again, he was taking care of her rather than the other way around. "Kichirou. You've grown up. Mother and father would be so proud of the man you've become. Do you realize that you're now the one taking care of me? It's always been me taking care of you until recently. You're so much like father that sometimes I wonder if you aren't him after all.
Kichirou smiled broadly under the praise. He knew about his fathers reputation and was proud of the fact that he had been compared to him on the training field and now by his sister. "Thank you Asami. You have no idea what it means to me to hear that."
They finished their supper in silence both reflecting on the events of the day. Kichirou cleaned up while Asami sat and watched. He made her promise to get in touch with him if she needed anything and he promised to return soon and visit. Sooner if there was news to share.