Okay, first off: I GOT MORE FANART! :D I can definitely recommend giving it a look! It's on my tumblr, under the tag 'HtS art' on my page. Again, I've got the same name as on here ^^

As always, you're all lovely people, and here you have the next chapter!

Hear the Silence

Chapter Forty Eight

Minato hurried after the ANBU that had picked up Kyo and run off with her, mind running a mile a minute.

Thankfully, the... man, was heading directly towards the hospital, so Minato was fairly sure he wouldn't have to track down a Chuunin or Jounin to intervene with some strange sort of abduction.

The ANBU all but flew down to the ground and walked briskly into the hospital via the front doors, something Minato was silently surprised by, even though he wasn't sure why.

Why wouldn't ANBU use the front doors?

When the nurse at the desk looked up and spotted the ANBU, she jumped to her feet and approached, looking Kyo over and making as if to take her from the special-ops' arms, but backed off faster than you could blink when the guy tightened his hold on her with a hostile air.

Minato wasn't sure if it was his body-language or something else that did it; he was frankly too tired to care all that much right now.

The important part was that, for some reason, this guy was... staking a claim on Kyo?

Did she have an older brother she hadn't told him about? A young uncle? Cousin?

Minato didn't know.

"T-This way, ANBU-san," the nurse said nervously and waved a hand down one of the corridors.

The ANBU didn't wait for anything more to be added, and simply strode off with confident steps. As if he knew exactly where he was going, with or without directions.

Minato jogged off after him until he could walk beside him and get a look at Kyo.

She was rather pale, wasn't she?

Had there been anything else wrong than just her foot? Minato hadn't really seen much of Kyo's fighting after she'd thrown that kunai straight through the head of the Iwa shinobi he'd been facing off against.

He'd been a bit distracted with getting Naoki out of the ground after that, and he hadn't even gotten him entirely loose before Jiraiya-sensei arrived and took care of the rest.

Minato had been too scared of somehow making things worse by being careless; he wasn't that good with earth jutsu yet.

Which was definitely something he'd have to work more on. As well as learn how Kyo did that with the kunai.

The ANBU didn't so much as hesitate as he turned down corridors, walked down a flight of stairs and took further turns until they reached what looked like an operating theatre of some sort.

Instead of waiting for anyone to come meet them, or so much as knock, he pushed to door open with a shoulder and strolled inside like he owned the place.

Minato snuck into the room after him, though he didn't have any illusions about everyone not being aware of his presence.

He glanced over at what looked like an operating table, took in Naoki's unconscious form and the people working on him and then quickly looked away.

Jiraiya was talking to the blonde Tsuna-woman that had been looking for Kyo way back, and both of them looked pretty grim-faced.

"Tsunade-sama," the ANBU spoke up for the first time, staring at the woman.

That was her name? Tsunade?

"What?" She snapped, and then glanced over, one eyebrow ticking up a fraction at the sight of the ANBU. And then she registered Kyo's pale form in his arms. "Put her over here. Status report?"

"Pretty sure something's broken in my foot," Kyo gritted out faintly, not bothering to open her eyes. "There might be something else, too, but I frankly can't tell."

"Well, let's get the mud and blood off of you to begin with," the Tsunade-woman said briskly, setting to it.

Minato edged over to sensei and watched without blinking as Kyo was cleaned up, quickly and efficiently.

She had two black eyes, and there was a cut on the bridge of her nose. Broken?

"Jiraiya, toss me a pair of scissors, will you? Gonna have to cut the sandal off," she muttered with a frown.

Sensei opened a drawer in the counter by the wall and threw a pair of strange scissors at the woman, who immediately set to do what she'd said.

Kyo made a sound like she wanted to scream but just about managed to refrain.

"Anaesthetic!" Tsunade barked next.

"What kind?" Kyo asked, voice faint and strained and she actually forced her eyes open to peer up at the woman.

"Not for you to worry about," the woman returned gruffly, impatiently.

"I'm immune to a shit-load of stuff," Kyo returned. "Crow," she added, flopping one hand at the ANBU, who... was still there.

Minato hadn't noticed.

The ANBU obligingly came closer.

"What?" He asked, and Minato shivered at how inhuman his voice sounded, lacking anything resembling inflection and emotion. It was eerie.

Kyo's lips twitched in a miniscule smile, though, despite everything. "Explain- for me," she asked disjointedly, sounding like she was a hair away from loosing consciousness anyway.

The ANBU -Crow?- rolled his shoulders and then turned a fraction to the Tsunade woman, who was watching him expectantly, unamused with the situation.

"Shiranui is immune to a number of poisons and sedatives, and her body adjusts to pain-killers unfortunately quickly," he recounted quickly and succinctly, sounding vaguely unhappy. If that was with the situation itself or his role in it was unclear.

How did he know that? Minato couldn't help but wonder.

The Tsunade woman scowled, snapped her fingers and shouted for one of the nurses' attention. "Bring me the brat's medical file!"

Kyo sighed tiredly. "My back feels sort of numb," she muttered, causing the blonde woman to pause and then give a short, irritable curse.

She rolled Kyo onto her side, making sure to do it onto the left side so it wouldn't jar her leg more than necessary, and brought a hand to the torn material of Kyo's mud-caked shirt.

Jiraiya gave a heavy sigh and pulled a hand through his thick mane of damp hair, staring guiltily at Kyo and Naoki and then glanced down at Minato.

"What about you? Any injuries I haven't asked about?"

"Just a few scratches," Minato admitted quietly, touching the fingers of one hand to the tears in his trouser legs.

The cuts on his thigh stung whenever he moved, but it wasn't that bad.

He was more tired than anything else. Exhausted.

ANBU Crow bent down to get closer to Kyo's face. "Reckless," he drawled, poked her in the arm and then left with a shunshin.

"How's Naoki?" Kyo asked the room at large, acting like the ANBU hadn't done anything strange or out of the ordinary at all.

"Worry about yourself, brat," the Tsunade woman growled darkly, still working on whatever had been wrong with Kyo's back. "I'm gonna have to take care of the mess that is your foot, too. How's the pain-tolerance? It seems we're gonna have to wait for that medical file."

"Decent," Kyo returned idly, eyes closed and looking like she might be drifting off to sleep. If it weren't for the small furrow between her brows. "Either way, I bet I'll survive."

"You better," Jiraiya stated firmly, crossing his arms over his chest and hunkering down to wait.

If Minato stood a bit closer to him than was perhaps prudent, then he was just grateful Jiraiya didn't say anything.

-x-x-x-

Lying on a cold slab of metal would never be comfortable, and it wasn't made better by the fact that her clothes were still damp with water, mud and blood.

Which was a lovely combination, all the way around.

Damn, she owed Kaimaru something nice for this, didn't she? Hm. He probably wouldn't touch anything she'd baked or cooked, not unless Genma was eating the same thing, and even then it was a toss-up.

Paranoid Uchiha.

Tsunade's chakra withdrew out of her back -had it been bruised? Cut? She honestly couldn't say- and carefully rolled her back over flat on her back.

Kyo took a deep breath and held the air in her lungs, trying to focus on not throwing up due to how... awesome it felt when her foot moved in response.

"Brace yourself, kid, because this isn't going to be pleasant," Tsunade said absently as she repositioned herself down by her feet.

Kyo determinedly relaxed her body, took deep, somewhat even breaths and curled both hands around the smooth edges of the table she was lying on.

"Go for it," she said.

Tsunade gave an acknowledging grunt and placed a hand humming with chakra on the bridge of her foot.

It sent a jab of pain through the limb, but it wasn't so bad.

Kyo could take it.

The following thirty minutes weren't as nice.

"There," Tsunade finally said. "Don't move, and a nurse will come wrap you up in a minute," and she moved over to the other table to work on Naoki, who seemed to have been prepped for whatever procedure they had to perform on him.

She was breathing hard, and sweat was clinging to her skin, making her hair stick to her forehead and neck, and her clothes to glue themself uncomfortably to her body.

"You okay?" Minato asked quietly, having edged closer to her now that Tsunade had moved on to her next patient.

"Fine," Kyo returned breathlessly. "Just, need a minute," she muttered.

At least the sharp, cutting pain of having her bones re-aligned had somewhat cleared her head.

She glanced over at the approaching nurse, watching the supplies she carried in her arms with unhappy resignation.

Oh, great. Another cast.

On her foot this time. Urgh.

...could you walk on a cast?

Kyo might end up finding out, regardless of medic's opinion on the matter, she mused drily, glancing at Tsunade, who looked very busy doing... something, with Naoki's legs she tried not to think too closely on.

The nurse chose that moment to carefully begin to wrap her foot in the plaster to make the cast, the warm, wet strips of cloth settling against her tender skin.

She bet that if she had bothered to glance down at her foot, it would be more blue than anything else.

One big splotchy bruise.

But then again, that was what happened when a grown man stomped on a child's foot with the intent to harm.

Sighing quietly to herself, she didn't fight or so much as twitch while the nurse lifted her foot to wrap the plaster all the way around, only leaving her toes bare.

When it was done, the cast reached up her shin to just beneath her knee and made sure she couldn't wiggle her foot even a little. Which was probably for the best.

"It needs to set for 45 minutes, so please keep off your feet at least that long, Shiranui-chan," the nurse said with a quick smile, and then hurried back to the other operating table, to assist the medics working on Naoki.

Kyo sighed and turned to stare up at the ceiling.

"Don't you have to go deliver some urgent scrolls, Jiraiya?" Kyo asked tiredly a minute later, trying not to listen to the sounds of whatever it was the medics were doing.

Jiraiya made an unhappy noise, but pushed away from the wall.

"Keep an eye on these two for me, will you, Minato?" He asked, moving towards the door with obvious reluctance, and he didn't leave until he got a verbal affirmative from the blond.

For a while, the only sound came from the medics busy operating on Naoki, and Kyo stared blankly up at the white ceiling.

She let out a small, quiet sigh and shuffled herself to one side of the slab of metal she was lying on and patted the probably not-so-clean-any-more table at the same time as she sent Minato an expectant look.

Minato blinked, eyed her uncertainly, before he gave in and carefully pulled himself up on the table and lied down next to her.

It was a bit of a tight fit, but Kyo didn't care.

Having Minato close right now was one less thing she had to worry about, her mind fretting and going all over the place as it analysed the consequences of the day's events.

And both of them were exhausted.

It didn't take long for them to fall asleep, and one of the nurses must have thrown a blanket over the both of them at some point, but Kyo didn't wake up until the door swished closed and a familiar voice roused her from her slumber.

It took a while before she could make out actual words, and spent those minutes peering at Jiraiya and Tsunade through the well-lit room.

"-s going to have some serious consequences," Tsunade was saying quietly to a Jiraiya wearing... a rather interesting facial expression.

Kyo blinked and peered more carefully at him.

"Shit. I haven't even had them that long," Jiraiya breathed, rubbing both hands over his face. He looked guilty. And angry. Sad, frustrated, pained. There was a lot going on there, but Kyo couldn't see anything good.

Heart speeding up in her chest, Kyo pushed herself upright, accidentally disrupting the blanket from around her and Minato, which jerked the boy awake.

"What- How's Naoki?" She asked, voice much sharper and louder than she had been intending.

Both of the Jounin turned towards her, neither looking like they had expected her to be awake.

"He's alive, brat," Tsunade grunted with a frown, and she gave her a part disapproving and part sympathetic stare. Kyo's heart just about had time to slow down and calm before she continued. "I had to amputate one of his legs at the knee. It was too damaged to salvage," she said with flat professionalism.

Kyo stared at her.

"What?" Minato murmured drowsily, accidentally pushing the blanket onto the floor as he sat up, too.

He turned to look at Jiraiya -as if that would magically change anything- but their sensei just shook his head with a pained look in his eyes.

Kyo couldn't think of a single thing to say.

She couldn't think of anything, other than the blank, empty void that the inside of her head had turned into at the news.

After a minute had passed without any further questions, Jiraiya turned back to Tsunade to continue the conversation Kyo had accidentally-on-purpose interrupted.

Minato was clearly in shock, staring at the far wall, pale faced and clearly not seeing anything of what was in front of his eyes.

Kyo felt... tired. And detached.

But mostly tired.

Like she hadn't slept in weeks, months... a year. Instead of having just woken up from a who knew how long nap.

She had quite forgotten about the cast on her foot, but she was reminded when she slowly and gingerly slipped off the metal operating table she'd been lying on and it touched the floor.

It felt weird.

Like she was wearing a strange, too-big-too-small shoe that didn't quite fit. And prevented her from flexing her ankle.

At least she could walk without too much problems, even though it reduced her to limping, despite there not being more than a twinge of pain with every other step.

"Where are you going?" Minato asked quietly just before she reached the doors, bringing Jiraiya and Tsunade's conversation to -another- halt.

"Away from here," Kyo said idly.

Where would be the best place to go? Home? Or Katsurou-sensei's house?

"Like hell you are," came Tsunade's gruff reply, and she sounded unimpressed. "You're spending the night in a hospital bed, even if I have to tie you to it. And get the hell off that foot!" She added irritably.

"Kyo, you really shou-" Jiraiya began in a placating tone of voice, though she wasn't sure if it was directed more at herself or Tsunade.

She didn't really care.

"This," she began, and her voice grew louder with every word, "was why I didn't want a GENIN TEAM!"

Before anyone could make any attempt at stopping her or try to force her to stay, Kyo yanked at her depleted chakra and exited the hospital with a shunshin, the echo of her own voice still ringing in her ears.

She staggered when she landed outside behind the hospital, and probably would have fallen if it hadn't been for the convenient wall close within reach, which she leaned heavily on.

Kyo really didn't have enough chakra left to have done that in her current condition, but... she'd had to get out of there.

Speaking of.

Kyo pushed herself upright and, using mostly her right foot -the good one- she jumped up onto the closest roof to get the hell away from the building she'd just escaped.

It didn't really matter where she went as long as it was away.

She needed to be alone for a while, and then... then she'd try and deal with this.

-x-x-x-