Title: Expendable

Author: Sparklehunter

Email: Light shounen-ai, sequel to "Ways to Die"

Summary: Hokage's guilty of choosing Konoha over Iruka.

Author's Note: Second in a series of snapshots about the aftermath of an almost-death. A little messy, a sketchy sort of fic that needs to be cleaned up. Review if you want more? Review anyway? Sankyu!


by sparklehunter

"Iruka's expendable ," Hokage says.

It's dark out, and Tsunade's defending herself, but no one's paying attention, because Kakashi and Iruka are dying in front of them on the beach. Everyone's too busy shoving in saline tubes and IVs and getting blood ready to worry about her crisis of conscience, they're worried about where to get all the pints of blood.

Konoha ninjas don't use blood often, as jutsus work just as well, but with Kakashi and Iruka mostly dead in the sand the situation is too critical to fool with jutsu. The blood in the water – a large ruddy puddle of ocean and sand that fades only at the very edges – is enough to convince her to use the jutsus to heal the gnashes in their bodies. She sends someone ahead, to Konoha, to round the villagers up to villagers to donate blood, but she worries it won't come soon enough.

Kakashi gags when they intubate him, and Tsunade rushes over to bark out orders, to keep him from causing more damage as he writhes on the back board. She grabs his shoulders – glad that they, unlike his chest and legs and arms – are uninjured, and calms him. Both of his eyes are visible, and she wraps a bandage around his right to keep him from dying of chakra burnout, and maybe in hopes that Obito's all-seeing eye won't find the answer to his question, or the response to his silent demand – how is Iruka take care of Iruka.

Iruka's expendable, Hokage thinks, and works with the medical nins to bring them back to Konoha.

Inside the emergency room, Kurenai is biting her nails off her fingers, leaving bleeding stumps that make Tsunade want to scream at her – Kakashi and Iruka are dying of blood loss, how can you waste your own? Her eyes are asking Tsunade how they are doing, so Tsunade rushes into the operating theater, not sparing half a second to answer the question. She doesn't know (doesn't want to know) herself.

Shizune is there, sterilizing the instruments, and she asks whom Tsunade will work on first. Tsunade says, Kakashi. Shizune directs another medical nin to Iruka.

She leans over the mess pale skin and jounin vest and tries not to think about her decision.

Iruka's expendable, Hokage wants to explain, but she knows Kakashi won't see it that way.