Summary: After Itachi's Tsukuyomi attack Kakashi falls into a coma and Kaori, his nurse, falls in love while caring for him.


Author's Notes: Kaori is the only nurse ever seen at the shinobi hospital. She doesn't have a surname so I used the surname of Rukia from Bleach. Otoha is a nurse seen without her uniform at the bath house. None of the medics is actually an original character. I do own Kaori's relatives who do not appear in Naruto as far as I know.

The Curative Career of Kaori the Ninja Nurse

Part 1: Paperwork

Things were finally calming down at the shinobi hospital since the war with the Sound. Most of those injured during the battles had been happily discharged. There were still a few long term cases like that of unfortunate genin Rock Lee, whose bones were crushed in the chuunin exams even before the war, but sadly there were always a few chronic cases since the premiere shinobi medic and legendary sannin, Tsunade, left many years ago.

The nurse on duty, Kuchiki Kaori, now finally had a chance to catch up on paperwork – a lot of it, piled in three one foot stacks on the desk that she shared in rotation with the other nurses. It seemed her predecessor had scarcely made a dent. She sighed and picked up a folder, wishing very badly that she knew some jutsu that would automatically take care if it all.

Before she finished the first stack of reports, there was a ruckusby the main doors. A bizarre man in a hideous green jumpsuit came in carrying a body carelessly slumped over his shoulder. Kaori immediately pressed the emergency button to summon a medic.

"He's been out for over two hours now. We thought he just needed a rest, you know Kakashi's chakra stamina is nowhere as good as mine, but he's not waking up…"

"Gai you go after Sasuke, I'll fill them in," an attractive kunoichi in a red and white dress interrupted as Iashi, the medic on duty arrived.

"Right, Kurenai, I'll leave him to you."

Iashi wheeled in a bed where Gai deposited his human bundle.

"Kaori, hook him up to an IV and take his vitals," Iashi, ordered as he gave Kurenai a form to fill out. Kaori pushed the bed into a room in the ICU.

"Umm…isn't all this information in the system?" Kurenai frowned at the unnecessary paperwork. Her red eyes seemed to dim at the prospect.

"Fill in as much as you can and we can pull the rest off the system," Iashi compromised. 'Sigh, these shinobi just don't understand the necessity of proper admittance procedures.' He took out a pen and another form and started asking questions, "Okay, what happened?"

"Uchiha Itachi is what happened," Kurenai said angrily with a flip of her dark hair. "He came back for what was apparently not a friendly visit. Asuma and I tried to question him, but he and his companion were too strong," she admitted reluctantly. "Kakashi saved us, but then Itachi used some kind of special doujutsu associated with his sharingan. Kakashi told Asuma and me to keep our eyes closed so we didn't actually see what happened. Kakashi said that he had protection against Itachi because of his sharingan, but one second Kakashi and Itachi were talking, next second we could hear Kakashi in pain and collapsing. I don't think they physically moved toward each other. Luckily, Gai showed up at the last second and they decided it was too risky to continue. We brought Kakashi home first - you know how he hates hospitals..."

Iashi nodded, "Yes, he's missed his annual checkup for the past five years or more." He frowned in disapproval. 'These shinobi just don't understand the importance of annual checkups.'

"Anyway, after two hours, he still wasn't coming around. Then Uchiha Sasuke found out his brother was in town and took off after him. Gai just left in pursuit, Asuma is filing the report with the elders, and here I am doing paperwork." Kurenai sighed as she looked at the lines requesting Kakashi's ninja registration number (no idea), address (okay, she knew that one), medical history including parental background and allergies (no idea again), closest living relative (none that she knew of), contacts (she tentatively put her own name down). She returned the mostly blank form back to Iashi.

Iashi took all the forms, handed them over to Kaori, who just returned after setting up the patient, and ordered her to fill in the rest. "Thank you Kurenai-san. We'll take it from here. It looks like you could use some rest as well."

Kurenai nodded tiredly and left the shinobi medic to his work. Iashi followed Kaori into the ICU room where Kakashi lay with an IV saline drip hooked up to his left arm, and a blood pressure/pulse monitor attached to his right arm. Iashi took out a penlight and shone it into Kakashi's eyes. Then he hooked up another instrument to monitor Kakashi's brainwaves.

Kaori noted with curiosity that one of Kakashi's eyes was dark gray while the other was red with strangely shaped black dots. Of course she knew of the great Konoha copy-nin, Hatake Kakashi of the sharingan, and had even spoken to him on several occasions when his genin had been admitted to the hospital, but she had never seen that eye before. When Uchiha Sasuke was brought in after the second and third chuunin exams, his eyes stayed naturally dark. She also noticed that Kakashi's face was still masked. 'How odd, no one's bothered to remove it to help him breathe better.'

Now she observed admiringly, almost enviously, as Iashi concentrated his chakra to scan Kakashi's body, sending chakra pulses that echoed back information his trained nerve receptors could interpret. It never ceased to impress her, the power of a shinobi medic. To her eternal regret, she was not able to make the cut and was relegated to being just a nurse, little better than a civilian midwife. But she was satisfied with her role, after all, nurses filled a necessary void between the needy patients and the impatient, busy doctors.

Iashi finished his exam with a concerned frown. "There's no physical damage as far as I can tell. No trauma to the brain. No internal bleeding, no damage to the organs." He looked at Kaori, expecting her to write all this down. She immediately started scribbling in Kakashi's file. Iashi sighed and added, "I'm not sure what we can do. The brainwave pattern indicates he's in a coma. Well, at least he's breathing on his own. Not much is known about the sharingan's power anymore and the one person who can help us is unconscious. If only Tsunade-sama were here. If only one of us had her expertise and power…I'm afraid right now the best we can do is make him comfortable and monitor his vitals." Still, he proceeded to draw a few vials of blood to check for toxins.

"How long will he be out?"

"Hard to say, sometimes patients come out of a coma after a few days, but sometimes it could be months, years or never."

'Never? How tragic.' "Should I put him in one of the private long rehab rooms?" Kaori ventured to ask.

Iashi nodded. "He's important to the welfare of Konoha. One of the top jounin, you know. He should get the best care we can offer soI want you to personally monitor his case."

"Me? I'm just a nurse…" The idea of such a long term responsibility depressed her.

"Well, that's all he needs right now. There's not much us medics can do. Like I said, just make him comfortable."

"Would he even notice? I mean, the man's in a coma." 'Just my luck to be assigned to such a futile case.'

"They say even coma patients dream and react to their loved ones speaking to them. It might help in his recovery to have someone talk to him."

"I'm sure he'll get lots of visitors since he's so famous."

Iashi nodded doubtfully, "Well, he doesn't have any family that I know of and there's none listed here. Check in the system. Kurenai-sensei listed herself as the contact, but that's probably because she didn't know whom else to put down. I guess they might be involved, but there should be someone else closer to him. Find out and advise him or her about talking to a coma patient. I'm going to put the patient's body in stasis, that way we won't have to worry about bodily functions and waste removal. He won't need the IV after this."

Kaori nodded and mentally noted all that Iashi had said. Iashi performed a complicated seal sequence to channel and mold his chakra. A stream of green medical chakra flowed out of his hands and dispersed over the patient. There was no obvious effect but it seemed Kakashi's breathing became even slower and more even. After the medic was done, she removed the IV then wheeled the bed to the private part of the hospital for long term, often terminal, cases. She adjusted the bed so his head was slightly elevated and made sure all the monitor leads were secured and the instruments were working properly.

Kaori took some time to examine her patient, or rather study his physical attributes. He was still dressed in his dark blue shinobi shirt and pants. His sandals, gloves, and forehead protector had been removed, allowing his white-gray head to tousle down attractively over his forehead. In her many years she had seen numerous scars, missing limbs, missing eyes, ears, even noses…so sad and disturbing, but this scar was interesting. A scar vertically down the left eye. A ragged imprecise scar, not a surgical scar but a battle scar. 'He must have lost his original left eye,' she surmised. His mask still covered the lower half of his face so she reached over and pulled it down to make him more comfortable.

'He's absolutely gorgeous!' She couldn't help but stare for a minute, two minutes... five full minutes passed. Beautifully formed full lips meant for kissing. A lovely aquiline nose. Deep set, probably soulful, eyes. Expressive eyebrows, currently knit in a painful frown. A strong chiseled chin. Well defined cheekbones. Pale perfect skin. 'What a shame to hide it behind a mask.' She couldn't help but reach out to brush a lock of his wild gray hair away from his noble brow.

"Well, good-bye for now, sweet prince." Kaori smiled at the nickname she gave him, then went back to her regular station to process the paperwork on her newest patient.

'Hatake Kakashi…' Kaori typed into her computer and pulled up his file. 'Age 27, a year younger than me, thought he was older with all that gray hair…Blood type O, parents deceased, no other living relative listed, no contact listed, received eye transplant at age 13, last checkup was nearly seven years ago, very bad, these shinobi should be more proactive about healthcare… no recent admittances, he must have had no serious injuries, in fact no visits since his last checkup. Oh, I see, his medical jutsu rating is pretty high, he'd be considered a mid rank medic here, probably treats himself…was admitted for psychiatric evaluation after death of teammate Uchiha Obito…and after the death of Yondaime. Passed psychiatric tests but recommendations for counseling were ignored. Special requests…do not remove mask unless absolutely necessary...'

All in all, his record was spotty. The most disturbing part was the lack of family or any contact - that was unusual. There must be someone she could inform, so she decided to question Gai sensei and Kurenai sensei tomorrow. Surely his fellow comrades would know.

Kaori looked at the clock. Her regular shift was almost over. Then pickup some dinner, she did not feel like cooking today, and home to soak in a nice hot bath with lots of bubbles. The comforting thought was disrupted when the odd man in green reappeared with a young dark haired boy slumped over his shoulder.

"This is Uchiha Sasuke, he's been attacked by his brother Itachi with the same jutsu that knocked out Kakashi. He's been out for nearly an hour now…"

For the second time that day, Kaori immediately pressed the button to notify the medic standing by in the emergency room and directed Gai to come with her.

This time Houshou was on duty. The medics had better hours than the nurses she noted bitterly. She instinctively readied the IV drip and monitors while Houshou spoke to Gai about paperwork.

"Uh…isn't all this information in the system?" Gai frowned at the unnecessary paperwork.

"Fill in as much as you can and we'll pull the rest off the system," Houshou sighed. 'These shinobi just don't understand the importance of documentation.' He took out a pen and another form and said, "So tell me exactly what happened." Houshou didn't realize he should have never used the word "exactly" with Gai.

"I was coming back from training, you know I do 100 laps around the village everyday, when I sensed trouble with a capital 'T.' I looked over my shoulder and spied, with my better than 20/20 vision and beauteous eyes, two strangers confronting my fellow sensei, Asuma and Kurenai, and my eternal rival Kakashi, you know I've got 52 wins now to his 51." Gai flashed his 100 watt smile at the pretty nurse. "I knew something strange was going on since Asuma and Kurenai had their eyes closed and Kakashi was helplessly down on his knees in obvious pain. The big ugly shark guy with a funny looking sword, looked like he was about to attack. I reacted instinctively and with my superior speed, I'm the fastest jounin in Konoha you know." He winked at Kaori. "I blocked his attack with my whirlwind kick, arriving in the nick of time to rescue my eternal rival. Upon directly facing Konoha's Noble Green Beast, Uchiha Itachi and his shark friend shook in fear at my luminous presence and using their wise judgment, decided to depart and abandon their quest…"

"What happened to Uchiha Sasuke?" Houshou iterated.

"After we brought my unconscious rival back to his place, Asuma, Kurenai and I held an important meeting to discuss why Uchiha Itachi returned to Konoha and to address the last thing Kakashi said, something about the Fourth Hokage's legacy and Naruto. And now that there is no Hokage, we didn't know exactly…"

"What happened to Uchiha Sasuke?" Houshou reiterated, continuing to be patient.

"Well, then Aoba showed up asking about Itachi, apparently word got around fast after I informed the Anbu. Then Sasuke showed up right behind him and heard everything Aoba said, especially the part about how Itachi's after Naruto, so Sasuke took off in pursuit. I helped Kurenai bring Kakashi to the hospital, being the chivalrous considerate man that I am..." Gai struck a manly superhero pose with his hands on his hips and his chest thrusted out. "...since he still wouldn't wake up, low stamina you know. Then I went after Sasuke. Now since my speed is superior, I'm the fastest jounin in Konoha you know, I caught up relatively quickly, but I didn't know exactly where he was in Otafuka so I had to ask around and search…"

"What happened to Uchiha Sasuke?" Houshou sighed.

"I heard a ruckus at this inn and when I arrived, I astutely used my forehead protector to spy around the corner and I saw Sasuke unconscious and someone standing over him. I, uh, accidentally dealt a blow… you don't need to know that part. Anyway, Jiraiya-sama told me Sasuke had been attacked by his brother Itachi with a mental sharingan jutsu. I shrewdly deduced it was probably the same jutsu as what he used on Kakashi."

Houshou sighed again and wrote down "Unknown metal attack."

Gai sighed as he looked at the lines requesting Sasuke's ninja registration number (no idea), address (somewhere in the Uchiha clan complex), medical history including parental background and allergies (parents deceased was all he knew), closest living relative (Itachi but he didn't count did he?), contact (Kakashi, but he was out... who else? He tentatively put Haruno Sakura, his teammate, since Naruto was out of town.). Gai returned the mostly blank form back to Houshou who barely glanced at it before handing it over to Kaori.

"Excuse me, Gai sensei," Kaori walked over to the giant spearmint stick. "Does Kakashi-sensei have anyone we should inform of his condition? He doesn't have anyone listed as his contact in the system."

"Kakashi? Hmm…I guess you should inform Haruno Sakura. She's one of his genin, along with Uchiha Sasuke and Uzumaki Naruto. I can't think of anyone else."

"Haruno Sakura… she's the pink haired girl who's been visiting Lee and…"

"Yes! She's also Lee's important person!"

"You listed her as Uchiha Sasuke's contact as well."

"He has no family other than the brother who put him here."

"I see," Kaori sighed. So sad not to have family. She warmly thought of her younger siblings and parents - being regular civilians was better in many ways.

"Oh, I forgot to tell you that Jiraiya-sama and Naruto are looking for Tsunade-sama. She should be able to cure Kakashi and Sasuke and my beloved Lee," Gai smiled his shiny million ryou smile at the pretty nurse who seemed to be strangely unimpressed.

"When do you think she'll get here?" asked Houshou.

"Well, there is a problem with that. They're not sure where she is. Apparently she moves around a lot, hiding from creditors."

"Creditors?" both medical staff personnel asked in unison.

"Gambling addiction," Gai explained.

The two nodded knowingly. Tsunade was famous in more ways than one. Her superior medical jutsu were only matched by her poor financial handling.

"If I'm done here, I'm off to visit Lee."

"If there's any change in Kakashi-san's or Sasuke-san's condition I'll be sure to inform…" Kaori started to say but Gai had already left. It seemed his priority was very clear.

Houshou was finishing up his exam. "Like what Iashi wrote in his report on Kakashi, no physical damage, coma brainwave. Prep a private room in the wing for minors," he ordered abruptly.

Kaori thought about objecting. It was already past her regular hours, but she nodded and noted to put in her overtime card, again. "Shouldn't I put him in the same wing as his sensei?" she asked.

"Rules are rules. Kids, shinobi or not, go to the pediatrics ward," he said cooly.

"Right, the rules," she sighed as she prepped the bed. She mentally noted to herself that someone else would have to be Sasuke's primary caregiver. She already had too much to do. It was harder being a nurse than a doctor. Nurses saw the patients every day, several times a day. A doctor may check in on a patient a few times a week, maybe even face to face for a minute, but it was the nurses who really cared for them, encouraged them, talked to them. Kaori prided herself on being a good caring nurse, yet one who never let her personal feelings interfere with her job.

After setting up Sasuke, she returned to Kakashi's room. Kaori remembered the request about the mask. It was more than odd. It was an almost ridiculous request. Why? Why would someone not want his face revealed even when in a hospital? Still, she had to honor it. Her hands hovered above his face. But instead of pulling his mask up, she gently caressed his cheeks. They felt cool and clammy, but smooth and soft. One hand reached over to touch his forehead. She stroke it absently, trying to erase the crease between his eyebrows. He appeared to respond and the painful frown on his face smoothed away under her touch. She knew she was not ethically allowed to gaze upon his handsome visage again so she stared for another minute, caressed his face again and pulled up his mask.

"Good night sweet prince," she whispered in his ear before she quietly left the room.

On her way home, Kaori first stopped by the ramen stand for a takeout order of seafood ramen. The young ramen waitress took her order with a smile, handed her the bag with a smile, and took her payment and thanked her with a smile. For some reason, that annoyed her.

'That ramen girl is always smiling at her customers. Does she really love what she does? Cooking and serving ramen? Can that possibly be a fulfilling job?' Kaori wondered

'Just because you would be miserable doing something so mundane, doesn't mean someone else can't be satisfied,' she chided herself. 'You should be less judgmental. That's why your family thinks you can't find someone. No one can be as perfect as you.'

'I'm not perfect. I just try to be. Everyone should try to do their best,' Kaori argued with herself on her way to the Haruno household.

She knocked on the door and patiently waited for someone to answer. It was just past dinner time for most people. 'That girl Sakura is lucky, she has parents and a regular home,' she noted to herself, 'not a dormitory like Naruto, or a tomb like Sasuke.' She knew the type of domicile her patients lived in just based on their address. Where they lived told her a lot about their lives which was important in treating a patient psychologically. Not every medic or nurse understood this important facet of a patient. She had noticed that Kakashi lived in one of the academy sponsored apartment buildings, not a family home, and…

Her thoughts were interrupted bythe pretty pink haired girl in a red dress who answered the door. Kaori immediately recognized her. "Sakura-chan, I'm nurse Kaori from the shinobi hospital. I want you to know that Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke…"

"Sasuke! What happened to Sasuke? Is it he hurt? He ran off this afternoon looking for Naruto…if that idiot did something to my darling Sasuke, he'll have to answer to me!" the girl immediately ranted.

"Both Kakashi-sensei and Sasuke-san are at the hospital in a coma. They were attacked by Sasuke's brother Itachi. Jiraiya-sama and Naruto-san are looking for Tsunade-sama, the great shinobi healer…"

"Sasuke's in the hospital? I have to see him now!"

"Visiting hours will be over soon. But when you visit them tomorrow I suggest you talk to them or read to them. They say people in comas can still hear. It just might help them get better."

"I'll talk to Sasuke until there's no breath in my body if that will save him." Sakura started to cry as she thought about her love lying alone in the hospital.

"Well, I'm sure that won't be necessary. Visiting hours start at 8AM. Good night," Kaori replied, feeling a bit annoyed with this young girl who had not expressed one iota of concern for her sensei. Then again she was obviously in love with Uchiha Sasuke.

'When was the last time I felt like that about a man? How long has it been since the last time I thought I was in love. It's been years,' Kaori thought as she walked slowly home. A couple of years until the big "3-O" and her love life was nil.

Her parents bugged her every time she visited. "So, seeing anyone special?" was their not so subtle attempt of finding out when their oldest daughter would finally tie the knot like her younger siblings.

But Kaori was a career woman who loved her job, most of the time. She worked long hours and thus had little time for a social life. She was very pretty, even in her plain white nurse's uniform, and the doctors and patients noticed. They used to hit on her all the time. But now it was less and less, especially with the addition of that new nurse Otoha, seven years her junior, of the big, big, oversized bust, not balanced by a brain or any nursing talent.

Kaori had gone out with a few of the medics, but she did not approve of dating at the office. It made things awkward when things did not work out. But the real problem was the arrogance of the shinobi medics who instantly saw her as an inferior.

She had dated Houshou for a while, but that didn't work out. All the other nurses thought he was a perfect catch, handsome, caring, nice, and a medic. What else could a woman want? They criticized her for being too picky when she broke it off just a few months ago. There was just no chemistry, that intangible element required for love.

She was happy with her life, wasn't she? Or rather she was usually too busy to think about whether she was or not. What she was was complacent. She had fallen into a routine and used her busy schedule as an excuse not to start a relationship.

So what did she want out of life? She wanted a family. She wanted to have children. She wanted someone of her own to care for. She wanted to continue working as a nurse. She wanted the power to heal. And like everyone else, she wanted to love and be loved in return, and preferably by the same person.


Author's Notes: Okay, I'm not sure where I'm going with this but I think it will be a GaixKaorixKakashi story. Just something I'm working on in between struggling with Kakashi's Stolen Sharingan which I will be posting very soon.