Insanity's Slip

Chapter Thirty Two

By Boejangles

-/-

Kakashi had counted how many tiles were in the patch of ceiling above his head at least ten times. The girl beside him had fallen into a restless sleep after breaking down into sobs when he couldn't magically make everything better. His mind was raging war against itself; part of him refused to give up on the small boy in the other room, but the other part knew that enough time had gone by for them to harvest all of his organs. With how long they were in there, at least he knew they hadn't given up on the child.

His mind began to wander to darker areas when the door opened. Launching to his feet, he stared at the male that walked out in anticipation. It was the medic that had originally carried the boy into the room, the same one whose life he had threatened.

"Hatake," he spoke as he let out his breath and fiddled with his hands. "We did everything that we can do."

At the man's words, Kakashi growled, "Don't tell me."

Holding his hands up in defense, the man's eyes widened. "Sir, we tried everything that we could." Moving to calm the situation as much as he could, he hurried on, "He isn't dead."

Relief seemed to flood the tall man's system. His beloved student was alive. Question entered his eyes at the realization: if Naruto was in fact alive, why was the man so fidgety. "Tell me everything."

"Perhaps you should sit down," the medic gestured toward the bench.

Kakashi simply crossed his arms as the door opened again and the other medics that had gone in rushed out and seemed to be on their way to attend to other patients. The fact they were leaving the room and he didn't know what was going on aggravated him. "Just tell me what I need to know about my student."

Conceding to the fact that the other male wasn't going to sit, the smaller male took in a breath. "Well, as you know when he came in he was not breathing on his own and was severely burned. We quickly placed him on a machine that would breathe for him. We believed that his breathing difficulty was from him going into shock from the burns.

So, we rushed to the operating room, where the clothes that had melted to him were surgically removed and his burns were debried. Concerned with the loss of body heat, his wounds were dressed and he was wrapped in a warmer."

Kakashi wasn't a medic by any means, but he knew that the root of all death was some sort of shock and that if you are out in the field with a wounded soldier one of your highest concerns was keeping them warm. Nodding his head, he expressed his understanding and urged the male to continue.

"With his wounds treated, we were hoping that he would become stable. However, there was no improvement. That was when the true problem was revealed. None of us are quite sure how, since we have never seen a jutsu like it, but whatever he was attacked with literally fried his chakra network. His chakra coils were burned to the point that chakra could not pass through them. As if chakra rushed to his heart and brain it must have created a protective barrier, because the networks in those areas, while damaged, were still able to function.

We aren't sure how much damage either of them received from lack of oxygen, but his heart is still beating on its own. Since we have never seen anything like this, we have no way of healing it. We simply couldn't fix his chakra system. The best we could do was place tiny probes to feed chakra to his organs to keep them from suffering cell death. Even with our machines feeding his lungs chakra, he was unable to breathe on his own. We fear he may have suffered brain damage to part that functions the central controls." The man stopped speaking and looked at the silver haired male with concern.

Kakashi's eyes bounced around as he attempted to place everything together and sort through all the information had been given. "So," he started slightly hesitant. "What does he need to get better?"

"Besides a miracle?" The medic lifted his hands in defeat and shook his head. "I don't know. We have done everything that we can. With the machines, he won't die. His heart and brain are functioning enough that with oxygen being pumped into his body his is able to properly circulate his blood. However, I don't know if he will ever wake up."

There was a sharp cry from the men's side. They turned in time to see a young genin with sitting up with shock on her face and her hands covering her mouth. Standing up, she ran down the hallway before she could burst to tears.

"Sakura," the silver haired male called out as he watched the girl run. He didn't know how much she had heard besides the man saying their lovable blonde may never wake up.

"I am sorry about that," the medic apologized while rubbing the back of his head in slight guilt. "Would you like to see him? He was just transported upstairs to a critical care room."

Dropping his hand that he had reached out as if he could stop the running girl, he turned to the man and nodded. If there was even a glimmer of a chance that his student could pull though- he would be the one to do it.

-/-

Sakura wailed as she ran down the streets slowly filling with people surveying the damage and sporting their own tears. She didn't care that her legs were starting to hurt or that she was feeling weak. She didn't care that she was told to take it easy. She didn't care about anything, but the words that were ringing in her head.

"Sakura, hey, Sakura." Blatantly ignoring whoever was calling her, she continued to run. Her body forced its forward progression when arms wrapped around her waist and lifted her off the ground. "Sakura, stop it!"

The screaming voice next to her ear was enough to momentarily snap her out of her wailing to turn and view who held her captive.

"Sakura, what's wrong?" Pale blue eyes stared at her with concern.

"Oh Ino!" The pink haired girl turned in her best friend's hold and clung to the girl. "N…Naruto, the doctor said he may never wake up again."

The platinum blonde was never able to express the shock that filled her eyes as someone behind her hissed. She felt a hand on her shoulder before she was roughly pushed aside. Stumbling and regaining her balance, she watched as Sakura was pulled into a tight grip.

Sakura continued to sob as if the fingers burying themselves in her arms had absolutely no affect on her. Her glossy eyes focused on the purplish bruise marring her captor's neck. Her cries grew louder; even with how messed up it was, seeing Naruto's handprints on his brother's throat just made her miss him more.

"What. Did. You. Say. Sakura?" Sasuke's voice came out between jagged pants. He felt as though his mind was spinning and he was about to fall into a never ending darkness. If he lost his little brother, if he lost Naruto, he might as well die.

Seeming completely unaffected by the little red crescent moons her teammate's fingernails were making in her arm, she took in a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself. "The doctor was talking to Kakashi about Naruto and said he may never wake up again."

When he released the girl, it was as if he took all of her remaining energy. Before Sasuke could completely turn away from the girl to rush to the hospital, Sakura had fallen to her knees with her head hung low.

Ino rushed to her best friend's side and wrapped her in a tight embrace. The thought of her baby in a coma deep enough that medical ninja couldn't pull him back out shook her to the core. Burying her face in pink locks, she openly wept in the middle of the destruction brought by the fighting.

-/-

Temari panted as she set down her younger brother. Looking around frantically she began to whistle softly. There was a rustle in the tree next to her before a black figure jumped down next to her.

"Kankuro," she called out as she looked up into his still terribly swollen face. Stitches held pieces of bruised flesh together. The medics had said he was lucky to be alive. Kankuro didn't feel so lucky about the situation.

The brown haired boy looked down at the unmoving red head. Even surrounded by all the swelling he managed to widen his eyes: his brother was unconscious, but not going on a rampage. It took him a few seconds before his eyes finally processed that the blood covering Gaara was his own. Gasping, he took a step back. "What…what happened?"

"It was that Uchiha. He, he skewered him!" She screamed. Sure she had always been terrified of the boy, but that didn't stop her from loving her brother.

"Is he…" the boy couldn't bring himself to finish his statement. His eyes were glued on his little brother's completely still form. When his sister nodded her head, he let out a humorless wrath as he clutched his stomach.

Temari looked at Kankuro through tear stained eyes as if he had just grown a second head.

"First he breaks my face and then he kills my brother," his statement sounded crazed through the psychotic laughter. "I should have killed him when the punk ran into." His eyes seemed to darken as his laughter ceased. "Oh well, I'll just have to kill him now."

Temari jumped up and grabbed onto her brother. "No, not now. We were completely annihilated; everyone retreated. If we go back now, the minute we step into the village our lives would be forfeit. Let's go home, give our little brother a proper burial, and then we can figure out how to get him justice."

Neither one of them entertained the thought that perhaps this was the justice for all the lives their brother had taken. They couldn't afford to think like that. When you are wounded and scared, getting angry always feels better than looking at yourself.

Kankuro didn't say a word to acknowledge the sandy blonde; he just bent down and picked up the red head, in a gesture more intimate that he ever gave the boy while he was alive, he cradled the boy to his chest.

-/-

Kakashi schooled his features as he entered the hospital room. He wasn't sure what to expect, because he wasn't quite sure what utensils to push chakra into the boys system would look like. He wasn't quite expecting what looked like extremely thin senbon to be scattered around the boy's abdomen attaching to a multitude of wires that hooked into what looked like a large modem on the ceiling. There was an IV pumping saline through a slow drip in each of the boy's arms. A tube was protruding from the boy's mouth and branched off to attach to a large machine. The machine made this swooshing noise in intervals. He realized that with each 'swoosh' Naruto's chest would rise before gently falling.

Beside the machine causing the boy's chest to bounce softly up and down, there was absolutely no movement from the boy. Not even a twitch of a finger or eyelid. As sad as the sight was to take in, a small smile graced the man's lips: his student wasn't blue anymore.

Walking up to the bed, Kakashi sighed. How had this happened? Hadn't he sealed away the curse mark? Why had it been able to take over the boy? Had he not done the seal properly? Could he have prevented this?

Closing his eyes, the older male looked up to thank the medic for doing everything he could, when he noticed the male was gone. He scolded himself for being so caught in his own thoughts he didn't even notice the other male leave.

Turning his attention back to Naruto, he stared at the blonde hair of his sensei and willed the boy to show him those beyond blue eyes. His wishing was interrupted as the door was opened violently and slammed into its frame. His eyes took in the sight of a frantic Sasuke.

His reflexes kicked in fast enough to grab the boy before he could reach the blonde. He held the flailing Uchiha in a tight grip.

"Let me go Kakashi!" Sasuke kicked at the older male and attempted to pull his arms enough to swing at him. "Let me see my brother."

"You need to calm down, Sasuke," the sensei attempted to placate. "He is very delicate right now. You can't touch him. You need to be calm before you approach him."

"I have to wake him up! He has to wake up!" the raven haired male fought even harder against his teacher's grip. "Naruto! Wake up, this isn't funny. Ha, ha, you got me okay. You got me, now just wake up!" The boy was screaming at the top of his longs.

"Sasuke, breathe, Sasuke." Kakashi pulled his head to the side to dodge a fist that was attempting to connect with his chin. His shin however was not as lucky as a foot made solid contact. "Naruto isn't sleeping. He is very sick right now. You can't try and wake him up, that will make things worse." He didn't think he was getting through to the male at all. He took on a stern voice, "Sasuke you need to calm down right now."

"Don't you fucking tell me to fucking calm down!" Sasuke spat as he wriggled around and began to attempt to bite the older male. "My brother needs me!" he cried out in a panicked voice.

The Hatake clenched his jaw as teeth gnawed at his arm. Having had enough, he brought down a quick chop to the boy's neck. The fighting immediately stopped as the boy went limp in his arm. Sighing, he set the boy in the chair offered for guests. Kakashi shook his head as he ran his fingers through his hair. He could understand why Sasuke was acting the way he was: when his father has died he locked himself in a room with the body and attached everyone that attempted to remove his father's corpse. It wasn't until Minato came that they were able the tame the boy into submission.

Understanding the boy's chaotic emotions did not make it easier to handle. Pressing the call light that rested on the wall near the bed, Kakashi waited for the nurse to enter.

"Yes, can I help you?" a kind looking woman asked as she entered the room.

Motioning towards Sasuke's form, he sighed. "He didn't take seeing his brother in this way very well. Is there a way you could set him up in the family room with something to calm his nerves? I'm just a little worried he might do something stupid."

The woman began to nod quickly as she saw the unconscious boy. She hurried out of the room and returned with a wheelchair.

Once they were out of the room, Kakashi sighed again- he had been doing that a lot lately. "You kids," he said while shaking his head and staring at the blonde. "No wonder I already have gray hair."

"You think that is something, ha! Wait 'til the gray is chased away and all that is left is white!" came a booming voice from behind the male.

Kakashi whirled around to take in the sight of the legendary Jiraiya standing there in all his glory. "When did you get here?"

"Well I showed up a bit before the exams so I could do some research. Lo and behold the village was in danger. I was glad to be here to help." The white haired male had crossed his arms as he leaned against the wall.

"What are you doing here?" The jounin moved his eye around to emphasize he was talking about the hospital room.

"The Hokage is dead," his voice came out blunt.

Schooling his features, Kakashi's face became serious. He had thought with all the medical attention he was receiving he would be fine. "I see."

"They wanted me to take the position," he allowed his statement to hang there a moment. "But, I was thinking," Jiraiya drifted off as his eyes wandered to the blonde, "Perhaps Tsunade would be more suited."

The younger male's eye widened in understanding. "You mean?"

"With the elders giving me the means to do so, I should be able to find her in no time and with the responsibility of Hokage forcing her to return. Well I think it is just about the right time for the woman of medical miracles to come home."

Kakashi couldn't help but grin behind his mask. The words the doctor had replayed in his head: "Besides a miracle? I don't know." "Miracle, huh?" The Hatake watched as the older male stared at Naruto. "Why haven't you been around?" he did his very best to keep his voice from being accusing.

"He had a family. Who was I to come in and mess up that dynamic?" Jiraiya sighed as if sensing what the other male wanted to ask. "After the massacre, I didn't know what I was supposed to do in that situation. I didn't know how to comfort that sort of pain. Plus if I did come take him where would that have left Sasuke?" Shaking his head, he crossed his arms tighter. "It is actually why I was coming back. I figured even if he didn't make Chunin, Sasuke would. I was going to take him on a training trip and teach him his father's jutsu."

Kakashi moved to place a reassuring hand on the older male's shoulder. "You will just have to make that trip when he wakes up."

Jiraiya laughed and was happy for the smile that remained on his face. "I guess you are right, kid. Oh, there was one more thing." Reaching into his cloak he pulled out a scroll and held it out for the other to take. "Courtesy of the elders."

Taking the scroll, he quickly read its contents. They were sending him on a mission already? Turning sad eyes to his student, he ruffled Naruto's blonde locks. "Let's make this a race kid, you wake up before I get back from this mission and I'll buy you all the ramen you can eat." There was no response from the little Uchiha, but that didn't stop the smile that graced Kakashi's features. "Hurry up and bring Tsunade back."

"Yeah," Jiraiya called as he looked at all the machines he god son was attached to, "I'm going to be as fast as I can."

-/-

Konohamaru chucked the desk drawer at the wall. Grabbing a fistful of papers, he began ripping them to pieces. A pained scream tore from his body as he threw his arms across the top of the desk knocking everything off.

Huffing at his actions, he began to stomp and kick at everything on the ground. Yanking at the second drawer, that one two slammed into a wall. He fell to his knees and began violently ripping at all the papers scattered there while screaming, "I hate you. I hate you. I hate you."

He and his mom had barely returned home to assess the damage when an ANBU appeared on their doorstep to inform them that his grandfather had died in battle. It was policy to inform the family before announcing the death of any shinobi to the public. Upon hearing he had rushed to the Hokage tower and locked himself in his grandpa's office.

"Why!" he cried out while mashing the paper in his hands into a tiny ball and chucking it across the room. "You weren't supposed to die! I was supposed to surpass you! I hate you! I hate you!"

Failing to fight back the tears, streams poured down his face and intermingled with the snot running from his nose. "I hate you," he whimpered out without and conviction as he slammed his fist against the destroyed papers.

Outside of the room, Asuma leaned against the wall. He couldn't bring himself to stop his nephew from destroying the Hokage's office. There wasn't much that couldn't easily be repaired and replaced. If this is how the kid wanted to deal with his grieving, who was he to stop him? Everyone handled death in their own way. Asuma's eyes darkened slightly as he brought a cigarette to his mouth. "I hate you!" came through the doors.

Pounding his fist once again against the papers, Konohamaru fell to a heap as he gulped in deep breaths. He was mentally and physically exhausted from his tantrum. He fought to keep his eyes open, but ultimately lost and fell to a dreamless sleep.

Among the wreckage and devastation that he caused, the boy slept. Completely unaware that if he had simply read one of the papers before ripping it to unreadable shreds, that he would have been validated to his mom and his best friend would have been free from his brother's abusive clutches.


A/N: Double Badabam! Man my muses are on a roll and like all hi-yah and stuff. (Kind of on a super feeling awesome high from defeating writers block). Bwahahaha I am so excited about this story being all like pa-cha. (I don't even think I am making sense now.

I would really, really, really, really, like your feedback. What you think of what is happening? What you would like to see happen? Any questions about what has happened? Any characters you want to see more of? Dislikes, likes, hobbies? Well, you get my point.

Before you kill me, I am sorry and Gaara is one of my favoritest characters, but I had to for the story, it is just how it had to be.

So, tell me what you think and all that jazz. I look forward to hearing from you and hope that you have enjoyed!

Thanks and Tata!

Boe