A/N: Thank you all for your reviews, once more. Also, forgive the gap between this update and the earlier ones, I started school again and got knocked all out of whack. However, if there's a long gap in the future, check my homepage listed in my userinfo. That should link you to where you can contact me. Thanks again.
Shizune found that time to panic she'd been waiting for at two in the morning the next day. She couldn't sleep, sitting on her couch and either burrowing her face in a pillow or shifting and wringing her hands. She even went so far at one point as to dig out her old textbook from her kunoichi classes she took at twelve years old.
She thumbed through the pages, checked the index, and ended up on page eighty-five. "Intercourse with Enemy Contacts". Swallowing a bit of trepidation, as if looking at the page would only make it more real, Shizune began reading.
Intercourse with an enemy, whether it is a citizen, a contact, an enemy, or otherwise, should not be feared. In fact, you can often garner useful information from such encounters, should you keep your head. Intercourse with the enemy is not a punishable offense as long as no information concerning Konohagakure or any other sensitive information is leaked to said enemy.
Remember, it is only a natural reaction to certain situations. Alcohol, drugs, genjutsu, and many other factors can contribute to the lowering of inhibitions. Remember to always report such intercourse to your superiors, and take medications the next day to prevent pregnancy or the spread of disease.
Shizune flung the book as far as she could throw it, watching in satisfaction as it hit the wall with a dull thump. She leaned back against the couch. She would have to deal with telling Tsunade in the morning. Well… later that day.
"You slept with Kabuto." Tsunade's voice was deadly level. Shizune gulped, and slowly nodded.
"You slept with Kabuto." Shizune nodded once more. Tsunade's face was unreadable. "… with Kabuto."
"Tsunade-sama… please… I know what I did was wrong… and it'll never happen again… and I didn't pass any information… heat of the moment… I can't believe I did such a thing…" Shizune stuttered through half-apologies and half-excuses. "… and… Tsunade-sama… are you laughing..?" Shizune stared in shock.
"Oh god, that is too good." Tsunade doubled over in her chair, trying to muffle her laughter. Shizune stood still, shocked into silence. Laughter was not what she expected. She had expected to be lectured, reprimanded, something!
"You… slept… with Kabuto…" Tsunade blurted out between fits of laughter. "Kabuto!" Shizune collapsed to a chair in relief, her head propped on her wrist. Tsunade was slowly regaining control of herself.
"So how was he?" Maybe not.
"Oh, come now. Allow me to tease my assistant a bit."
"Seriously, how the hell did that happen?"
"I told you! Water alcohol!"
"Uh-huh. That's all."
"… Shizune…" Tsunade was once again calmed and serious. "You did take steps to prevent a pregnancy, didn't you?"
"Of course I did!" If Shizune's face got any redder, she was afraid she would loose blood flow in the more significant parts of her body.
"Well… I guess that's that, then. Fetch me that defense scroll and then do your hospital rounds, would you?" Shizune blinked. She opened her mouth to protest, demand some sort of punishment, but she wisely shut it again, mutely handing the Hokage the scroll she asked for.
She tried to put Kabuto out of her mind.
Ino was dreaming.
She did that a lot, it seemed. She stared out the window of her room, her hands folded serenely in her lap, the white hospital gown and her blonde hair against the rising sun in the window giving her an angelic aura. She dreamed that she was a ninja, a strong kunoichi, who could latch onto minds, manipulate consciousness, and take over bodies. But it was only a dream, something she only saw in waking.
"Ino?" The nurse, Shizune, coming in. She had the tray with the pills, the shots. Ino smiled wanely, obediently proffering her arm. The medicine, going in, burning then cool. A peace, a bit of clarity. And feelings, feelings of the people nearby, the people she knew. Thoughts, dreams, futures. Weaves and weaves of possible paths and futures before her distant eyes.
"Shizune." The older woman met her gaze while administering the second shot. And the path broadened, led her down it, and led her through twists and turns to an end with blood and death and things she didn't want.
"Shizune, I need to go to Sound with you." The nurse's eyes widened.
"Who told you about the mission to Sound?" Ino only smiled a distant, vacant smile and did not answer. "Ino? How did you know?"
"I see it." Ino paused, looking out the window to glimpse that fleeting dream she had of missions and teammates and teachers and friends. "I see it on the path."
"What path, Ino?" The woman's thoughts puzzled, confused. Unsure, but Ino could decipher them, sort through them, see all thoughts to completion.
"The path to what will happen. Like your path with the blue man." Shizune paused, mouth open. Ino could feel the gears turning in her head, feel the conclusion.
"You knew that man would serve me water alcohol? You knew?" Ino nodded slowly, the pleasant, doll-like smile still gracing her lips.
"I felt it." Ino unfolded and refolded her hands, her voice soft and level. Shizune leaned forward slightly, listening, waiting for her to elaborate. When she offered no answer, Shizune pressed her.
"What can you feel about people, Ino?" The older woman was frantically scribbling on the medical tray with a marker, transcribing everything that was said.
"Everything." Shizune's brow furrowed. Feel frustration, feel elaborate.
"Everything. Your path, your now, your heart, your thought, your feel, your see." Shizune was writing intently, but then she stopped, her hand pausing over the scribbled tray.
"Ino… look at me." Ever obedient, Ino met Shizune's gaze, steady and blank. "Ino… can you see into the future? Are you trying to tell me you can see what will happen in the future?"
"No." A plain answer. "I can see what you will do when things I predict will happen do happen." Shizune's thoughts roiled, her eyes seething.
"Ino, I'll be back in a moment." Ino smiled.
"Please don't run too fast when ordering that mind jutsu diagnostic." Shizune paused on her way out the door. She opened her mouth to speak, but thought better of it and left the room.
"Chouji?" Shizune knocked on the door frame of the Akimichi household with her knuckles. Normally when calling on the Akimichi one would ask for Chouza, except that he had been killed defending Konoha when Sasuke had been in their custody. Chouji was the next clan head of the Akimichi.
"Shizune-san." Chouji came to the door, a crying baby in his arms. "I'm sorry to bother you; I didn't know they'd send you. I just needed some advice about Inoki."
"No, it's alright. I asked to be the one to come." Shizune offered her arms, and Chouji gently handed over the blonde boy child. The child, only seven months old, wailed, clutching at Shizune's hair and face.
"He's been crying for the past day, off and on. He won't eat, either." Chouji shrugged a helpless look upon his face. "Maybe colic?"
"Maybe." Shizune opened her bag, taking out her medicines she had prepared. The child was fussy, but she managed to get the syrup down his throat with a minimum of mess, Chouji watching. The man smiled a little when the blonde child began to quiet down, falling into a deep slumber curled in the medic's lap.
"Thank you, Shizune." Chouji heaved a sigh of relief. "Now… what did you want to talk about?"
"Inoki… you've brought him to see Ino, haven't you?" She stroked the small boy's thin blonde hair, watching the emotions that were displayed so honestly on his face.
"Of course, I mean… she's his mother, after all. He deserves to… know her. At least have memories of her." Chouji's head hung a little lower. "He… won't know his bastard of a real father, but… I'm trying to be there… you know?" His voice was a little husky, and Shizune felt her spirit lower just listening.
"Of course, Chouji. You're doing wonderfully, you know." Chouji gave a weak smile.
"I'm not doing it alone. Shikamaru comes by a lot, and so does Sai and Sakura. My mother does what she can." Shizune nodded, rubbing the small of the child's back.
"How does Ino act around him?"
"… She doesn't recognize him as her son. I don't think she remembers anything… about what happened in that base. I'm glad." Chouji's hands were clasped in front of him. "But she's good with him. She likes kids, so she plays with him."
"Has Ino ever… said anything weird?" Shizune asked. Chouji tried to stifle a bit of laughter, but ended up sniffing to stop tears.
"All the time."
"Anything weird… like… a prediction? One that came true?" Chouji paused, a thoughtful look on his face.
"… yes." He stopped, then continued. "The first time I visited her… before the tests even came back and said she was pregnant… she told me that the most important person in my life would change from her to a boy I hadn't even met."
Shizune didn't speak. She looked down at the child in her lap, sleeping soundly, and hoped he would never know of the horrors his mother had endured to put her mind to such a state.