Summary: As Shikamaru battles to save a village and Naruto fights Sasuke to end his life and protect his friends and loved ones. Events back in the Leaf village are transpiring, which will alter both young men's lives in a most life-changing of way. Meanwhile, Sakura fights to save Kiba's life, while her young apprentice is in dire peril. And three members of the Konoha 10 prepare to face a seemingly invincible opponent and are prepared to lay down their lives to defeat this unstoppable monster. Once again, our heroes will have to fight to protect not only their friends and loved ones, but also fight for their very lives as well.
Naruto vs. Sasuke: The Aftermath
Chapter 79 "Naruto vs Sasuke: The Rematch Pt.2"
As the battle of Hiezu village and Naruto's fight against Sasuke raged on. Life back in Konoha carried on as normal, the people oblivious to the life and death struggle going on for many of their shinobi hundreds of miles away. Still, there were events taking place inside the Leaf village that would mark this day as special for many people, especially for several members of the Nara clan.
Much to the annoyance of the clone Naruto had left behind to brief the Hokage of what was transpiring at Hiezu village. He cursed his bad luck, as he had followed Sakura's suggestion that Tsunade was probably at Hokage tower...she wasn't. The clone didn't blame the pink-haired kunoichi, she couldn't have known that the blonde Hokage had been called to the hospital he had just left, a scant 15 minutes, before he had arrived at the tower. Now the clone raced back to the hospital and hoped he could find the Hokage in time to brief her, before the patient that required her presence demanded all of her attention.
The reason Tsunade had been called to the hospital was that Shikamaru's wife Temari had finally gone into labor that morning after over three weeks of being overdue. Shikaku Nara, the patriarch of the clan and also a close friend to the blonde Hokage, had requested a favor that she be the doctor to deliver his first grandchild into the world. Tsunade was more than happy to grant Shikaku's wish, and truth be told he hadn't even needed to ask.
Over the past few years, Tsunade had developed a close almost grandmotherly type relationship with all of the Konoha 10, as most villagers now referred to them upon Chouji's passing. The Slug Sannin wasn't sure when this had happened and had wondered sometimes if she had grown close to all of them, because they were her actual grandson Naruto closest friends. In the end it really didn't matter the reason why she cared so deeply for all of them. They were all stellar individuals and the future leaders of the Leaf village and Tsunade had every intention of helping to bring in the new generation that would follow them.
"Ok Temari, you're doing great. You've finally reached .10cm cervix dilation and now we can deliver this newest member of the Nara clan to the world." Tsunade declared in a soothing voice.
"Oh thank Kami, let's get this kid out of me please." Temari wailed in anguish.
"Hokage-sama, I need to talk to you...oh crap...uhh!" The Naruto clone shouted, as he burst through the doors of the delivery room. Only to be met with the sight of Tsunade sitting between Temari's raised and outstretched legs on a birthing bed, before he quickly turned his back to them.
"Brat, what the hell are you doing barging in here like that? Where is Shikamaru, did you bring him?" Tsunade questioned angrily.
"I'm, I'm sorry Hokage-sama, I, I didn't know. The clone stammered, before he then answered her question.
"Uhh n-no, I didn't bring Shikamaru, he's not here."
"What! What do you mean he's not here? Where is he? You were supposed to bring him, that was the plan,...argh!" Temari shouted in frustration and fury, before another contraction hit her.
"I, I couldn't bring him, you see I'm not..."
"You're not Naruto, you're one of his shadow-clones aren't you?" Tsunade openly announced interrupting the clone.
"I should have guessed it right off. You addressing me properly and also apologizing were dead giveaways. Well, whatever you have to tell me, can it wait until I'm done here? I'm sort of in the middle of something as you can see."
"I, I don't think so, what the boss wanted me to tell you is very important and it will also explain why Shikamaru isn't here."
"Then get your ass over here and hold my hand! While you explain everything to Lady Tsunade and me!" Temari spat with ferocity.
The clone turned around in shock after hearing this, before his gaze fell upon Temari's sweat stained face. He then looked nervously at the blonde Hokage, to which she proclaimed.
"You heard her, get your ass over here and hold her hand, while you tell us everything!"
The Naruto clone quickly donned a surgical mask, cap, and gown, although neither he nor Tsunade knew whether or not he actually needed one being a clone. It was determined to be better safe than sorry, as the clone tentatively took a seat next to Temari and held out his hand. The Suna princess immediately snatched up his hand in an iron vice-like grip that caused the clone to wince, as he channeled some of his chakra into his hand to reinforce it. Lest Temari inadvertently crushed it and caused him to disperse, before he could inform the Hokage of what was going on back at Hiezu village.
"Ok Temari, You're doing just fine. Now on the next contraction, I need you to give me a really big push. Tsunade stated in a calm and comforting voice, before she turned her attention towards the clone and gruffly ordered with authority.
"You, start talking and keep it short."
Over the next few minutes, Naruto's shadow clone informed the blonde Hokage of everything from Kiba's fight with Sasuke and his life threatening injuries from it. To the arrival of the Leaf reinforcements led by Kakashi, Shikamaru, and Naruto. To the subsequent battle that was probably taking place right now between the Leaf and Sound forces at Hiezu village. It was at this point Tsunade held up her hand to silence the clone, as she looked over towards a darkened window off to the side of the delivery room and asked.
"Did you hear all of that Shikaku?"
"Hai Lady Tsunade I did." Came the reply from the speaker on the wall next to the darkened window, which was connected to the adjoining observation room.
"I'm sorry I have to give you this order my friend and cause you to miss the birth of your grandchild. I need you to put together a relief force as quickly as you can and then send them out at once to Hiezu village."
"It's troublesome, but I understand my lady. Besides, maybe I won't have to miss it. I don't suppose my dear daughter that you could hold off bringing my grandchild into the world for say 30 minutes, maybe an hour at the most?" Shikaku asked in a playful tone of voice.
A sharp pain-filled cry was the immediate response the Nara clan patriarch received from his daughter-in-law, as another contraction slammed into her. As the contraction passed, through labored and panting breaths, Temari answered.
"I, I don't think so Dad, as I don't seem to have any say about when this kid is going to arrive. And he or she has decided after nearly 10 months that NOW is when they want to see the world."
Shikaku had to stifle a small chuckle and a small smile appeared, before he turned around to glance at his wife and the smile disappeared, as a look of concern spread across his face.
As much as Shikaku wanted to stay, he knew his duty as a loyal Leaf shinobi to his village and his Hokage superseded any personal feelings he had. He would regret not seeing the the birth of his first grandchild. However, what bothered him the most in not being able to stay was leaving his wife Yoshino at this time. If most people who knew the Nara clan matriarch were asked to name her most defining traits. Many of the answers that would come back would be strong-willed, confident, quick of wit and of tongue, defiant, and the one trait most if not all people would attribute to her...fearless.
Unfortunately, that while his wife was all of those things and many more. Shikaku knew Yoshino possessed one fear that was so debilitating, that most people wouldn't even recognize her when she was in the throes of its grasp, such as she was right now. As this crippling and haunting fear Yoshino carried was of...childbirth. So it had surprised Shikaku greatly when she had accepted Temari's invitation to observe the birth of their first grandchild, but as he gazed at his wife now, he realized this had been a mistake.
Even though Yoshino had assured her husband that everything would be fine and that she could handle seeing the birth. Alas, this had not been the case, as Shikaku looked at his wife with sadness, while she sat with her head hung low staring at her lap and gripping the armrests of her chair so tightly her knuckles had turned a ghostly white in color. The Nara clan leader wished their was something he could do to alleviate the terror his wife was was experiencing, but he knew this overriding fear stemmed from Yoshino's own pregnancy and birth of their son. So there was nothing he could think of to say or do to comfort her and combat the panic she felt at that moment.
Very few people inside the Nara clan and even fewer outside of it knew how difficult Yoshino's pregnancy with Shikamaru had been for her. As it was beset with numerous complications throughout the nine months she had carried him. All of which culminated in Shikaku almost losing both Yoshino and Shikamaru during his birth. The Nara clan leader felt a chill go up his spine at the memory of that blessed, but also horrific day resurfaced in his mind.
To this day, Shikaku still doesn't know what he would have done had he lost both of them that day. The only conclusion he had come up with was that probably would have abandoned the clan to go crawl in a hole somewhere and drink himself to death. Fortunately, Kami had decided not to take the lives of his wife and son that day.
However, when Yoshino had learned that they had almost lost Shikamaru, she became overcome with grief and sadness. Cursing at herself for being so weak of body and telling Shikaku he should divorce her and find someone who can give him heirs properly. It was at that moment, he took his weeping wife into his arms and cradled her against his chest, before announcing with authority that there would be no more heirs of the Nara clan leadership, one was enough. Yoshino tried to argue against this proclamation, but Shikaku was resolute and told her in no uncertain terms. That he would not risk the life of the woman he loves, the only woman he would ever love, for the sake of having more heirs.
Yoshino told him that she was willing to take that risk and grant him more children. But Shikaku only reaffirmed that he wasn't willing to take that risk. The Nara clan leader flashed a brief smile, as he realized that was one of the few arguments he had actually won during their marriage. Walking over to stand in front of his wife, he knelt down and placed his hands over hers and was about to speak when Yoshino beat him to it and asked.
"What are you still doing here?"
"I don't want to leave you Yoshi-chan."
"Bah, you heard the Hokage, haul your lazy ass out of here and get a strike force put together to rescue our son!"
"I don't think our son needs rescuing, knowing Shikamaru he's probably figured out a way to avoid doing any fighting." Shikaku remarked in a playful fashion, attempting to ease the tension in the room.
"Don't bullshit me! Like you he may be a lazy slacker, but also like you he's no coward and when push comes to shove, he'll fight. Or need I remind you during the invasion of the over 100 Sound shinobi he personally dispatched on the Trail of Blood earning him the infamous title of Nara the Merciless within Otogakure."
Shikaku didn't need to be reminded of that dark time during the invasion and though those 100 plus lives his son had taken on the battlefield had been vengeance driven by the death of Shikamaru's best friend Chouji. Yoshino did make a valid point that when motivated, his son was a very skilled, deadly, and indeed merciless fighter. The Nara clan leader squeezed his wife's hands gently and was about to reply, when she spoke up and ordered.
"Stop wasting time here with me and get that strike force put together, don't worry, I'll be fine here. But I swear if you're still here 30 seconds from now, I'm going to get out of this chair and personally kick your ass out the door myself!"
Shikaku exhaled a sigh and knew that to stay any longer would only annoy and infuriate his wife further, as he rose up and placed a loving kiss on top of Yoshino's head, before exiting the observation room.
Yoshino blew out a raspy sigh, as the door closed behind her husband. Though she would never openly admit it, having Shikaku here to support and comfort her, she was going to miss greatly. At that moment, another cry of pain from Temari came blaring out of the speaker and Yoshino began to tremble even more, as tears began to stream down her face. The Nara matriarch silently prayed to Kami for this child to be born soon. Because Yoshino wasn't sure how much longer she could keep it together, before she fell to the floor in the throes of a nervous breakdown.
Admittedly, Naruto froze for a second, maybe two at most when Sasuke surprised him with his sword wielding attack to cut him down. However, he quickly came to his senses and threw down a series of smoke bombs in front of the charging Uchiha to momentarily blind him. He then pulled from his belt a small scroll and opened it in a burst of smoke.
When Sasuke brought his Kusanagi blade down in a murderous arc, he expected to hear Naruto cry out in pain, but that was not the sound that greeted his ears. Instead, what he heard was the unmistakable sound of his blade striking something metallic. As the last of the smoke was blown away by a stiff wind, Sasuke saw Naruto holding two strange weapons in a crossing pattern, which had blocked his sword strike. Confused by this, as Naruto had never used any type of weapon other than a kunai before. Sasuke let his guard down and Naruto made him pay for that mistake, when he pulled one of the weapons out of the block and quickly slashed it across Sasuke's chest. The Uchiha hissed, as he suddenly felt a hot searing pain and jumped back away from Naruto.
Looking down, Sasuke saw an ugly eight inch slash running horizontally across his chest, which was about a half inch deep judging by the amount of blood flowing from the wound. Already his curse-sealed one state was in the process of closing and healing the injury, when Sasuke looked over to Naruto and saw his former teammate expertly twirling these unfamiliar weapons in his hands, with a smirk on his face, as he gazed back at Sasuke and said with derision.
"So typical of your arrogance teme! Assuming that all I did while I was training with Pervy-sage and Kakashi-sensei was improve in one facet of combat...taijutsu. Like you, I also improved my skills in many different areas of combat including...weapons."
Sasuke didn't respond, as he continued to watch Naruto deftly whirl these strange weapons around in his hands. The Uchiha was well versed in identifying weapons, but he could not figure out what weapon his former teammate was wielding. It had the look and shape of a common "Sai" as it had a sharp metal prong with two curved side-prongs projecting from the handle and a ring on its pommel like a standard Kunai, but there was something different about it that confounded Sasuke as to what the weapon could be. Finally in aggravation, he asked in a sneering tone of voice.
"Just what the hell are those things dobe?"
Naruto stopped twirling his weapons, before he held one of them up in front of him and admiring the the blade in his hand, as he stated with pride.
"Oh this teme, this is just something I came up with a few years ago. You see when I was out training with Kakashi-sensei, he gave me a pair of my dad's Hiraishin kunai. He wanted to honor my father by teaching me how to use them in a fight. However, while I was learning how to use them, I discovered a small flaw to their design."
"Not surprising, if you're dobe of a father created them." Sasuke spat in insult.
"Funny, I don't recall the Uchiha clan ever creating any type of weapon that would be useful." Naruto shot back in derision of Sasuke's clan, before he continued on.
"You see, the Hiraishin kunai differ from a standard kunai in that they have three blades instead of one. Also, these blades are a bit heavier than a normal kunai and their prongs not only acted as hand guards, but because they were bladed also made them more deadly in hand to hand melee fighting. However, whenever I sparred with them against Kakashi-sensei, I found he was always able to inflict wounds upon my forearms using his tanto, the infamous Konoha's White Fang. It was then I realized that using my dad's kunai was ineffective against longer bladed weapons."
"Is this story going to take much longer?" Sasuke growled out in boredom laced voice while yawning.
"Patience teme, are you really in such a hurry to die? You're the one who asked what these are? Now where was I, oh yeah, I discovered dad's kunai weren't very effective against longer bladed weapons, such as Kakashi-sensei's tanto or your sword there teme."
"It's called the Sword of Kusanagi dobe! Remember that name, as it's the last thing you will see, before you die by it!" Sasuke proudly boasted.
"Whatever teme, can I finish now?" Naruto asked in annoyance at being interrupted, before he continued on.
"So anyway, after thinking about the problem, I suddenly had a revelation of what if I extended the length of the main blade to help protect my forearms. Kind of like what a Sai does, So, I designed what I wanted and at the next village we stopped at that had a blacksmith, I had him make my new and improved kunai. After that, sparring with Kakashi-sensei became much more even than before." Naruto stated with a grin.
"Bah, just like your Namikaze style of taijutsu, an ineffective weapon created by a fool!" Sasuke snarled in derision.
"Yet you're the one currently bleeding from this ineffective weapon." Naruto replied in sarcastic fashion.
Naruto's mocking retort, infuriated Sasuke who slashed his blade in the air in front of him and angrily declared.
"Oh I'll do more than make you bleed dobe, it's time for you to die now!"
Naruto twirled both of his kunai in his hands in expert fashion, before dropping into a defensive stance and shouted.
"Bring it teme!"
Sasuke and Naruto then leapt towards one another and the epic battle between the two strongest shinobi of their generation was renewed once more.
As Shikaku stood in the hallway of the hospital and heard the click of the door to the observation room close behind him, he wrung his hands nervously. He knew his wife was putting on a brave face for him, but he was still concerned about her, as she was barely holding it together when he was in the room with her. Now that she was all alone deeply troubled him, as to the state of her well being.
Shikaku wished he could contact Keko Yamanaka or Chouko Akimichi and have either one or both of them to sit with his wife to comfort and support her. As both women were Yoshino's closest friends and knew of her affliction. However, he did not know where either of the women might be and he didn't have the time to go search for them. He needed to get this relief strike force put together asap and send them to Hiezu village at once. Then as if sent by Kami himself to solve Shikaku's dilemma. He saw a young woman step off the elevator down the hallway who the Nara patriarch knew without a doubt could comfort and support his wife through her ordeal, as he raced down the hall towards her.
When Hinata stepped off the elevator and lifted her head to look around. She realized she had gotten off on the wrong floor, as the waiting area of the Obstetrics wing was one floor below. Turning around she inwardly chided herself for not paying attention, as she saw the elevator doors close. Pushing the button to recall the lift, Hinata suddenly heard someone calling out her name. Turning back around, she was surprised to see Shikaku Nara running down the hallway, before stopping right in front of her and while bowing said in a grateful tone of voice.
"Hinata-san, I'm so happy to see you."
Hinata bowed in a show of respect towards the Nara clan leader, before she straightened up and replied with sincerity.
"Shikaku-sama, I am also happy to see you. I heard Temari-chan had gone into labor and was going down to the Obstetrics waiting room. But for some reason I wasn't paying attention and stepped off the elevator onto this floor by mistake. Has she had the baby yet?"
'The reason is Kami's divine intervention, as far as I'm concerned.' Shikaku thought to himself, before he answered Hinata's question.
"No, she hasn't had the baby yet, she just began delivery a short time ago. Hinata-san, I'm sorry to impose on you like this, but I need a favor, if you would be kind enough to grant it."
"What can I do for you?"
"I've been ordered by the Hokage to go take care of a very urgent and important matter for the village. So I am unable to sit with my wife and watch the birth of my grandchild with her. Would you be so kind as to sit with my Yoshi-chan in the observation room, so she won't be all alone while Temari-chan has her baby."
"Sit, sit with Yoshino-san." Hinata hesitantly stuttered, as she thought about this.
It wasn't that Hinata disliked the Nara clan matriarch, as she never had much interaction with the woman during her life. In fact, the only significant time Hinata had spent around Yoshino had been at her own bachelorette party. At which a very inebriated Yoshino chose to share her very disheartening and depressing views on the institute of marriage. So this combined with Shikamaru always complaining about what a hard coarse woman his mother was growing up. It had left Hinata with a less than ideal view of the woman, before she stammered out.
I, I don't know, the observation room is meant to be used by invited family members and close friends of the parents to be. Temari-chan didn't invite me, so I'm not sure it would be right for me to witness something so personal on her part."
"Nonsense, you've become one of my daughter-in-law's closest friends and I'm sure she wouldn't mind at all. And if she does have a problem with it, which she won't of you seeing her give birth. I'll let her know it was I who invited you to do so."
What Shikaku had said was true, Hinata and Temari had grown much closer over the past several months. The bond of their mutual pregnancies forging a strong friendship between the two of them. However, Hinata was still uncertain if she should grant this request and expressed her doubts.
"I'm, I'm still not sure."
"Please, I will beg if I have to. I'm just very concerned about my Yoshi-chan. You see she's very...nervous about Temari's delivery and having someone there with her would mean so much to me."
Hinata gazed at the forlorn face of Shikamaru's father and saw the worry, but also sincere concern for his wife etched upon it. She also heard the pleading tone in his voice. Exhaling a small sigh, she knew she couldn't say no to the man.
"Hai, I'll help you and sit with Yoshino-san. Are you sure she won't mind?"
"Thank you, thank you so much Hinata-san. No, she won't mind at all." Shikaku gratefully replied, while grasping both of Hinata's hands with his own and bowing multiple times in succession.
"Where is the observation room?"
"It's down at the end of the hallway."
"Oh my, that far. Temari-chan might already have the baby by the time I get down there. As you can see, I'm not moving around very fast these days." Hinata jokingly commented, as she rubbed her extended belly indicating her eight months of pregnancy.
Shikaku quickly looked around, before he spotted an empty wheelchair off to the side. He quickly grabbed it and then helped Hinata into the chair. Once she was seated, he moved behind the chair and grasped its handles, before shouting out, as he pushed the young woman down the hall at breakneck speed.
"Out of the way, pregnant woman coming through!"
"Sl-slow d-down Shi-Shikaku-sama!" Hinata stammered, as she saw people jumping to one side of the hallway or the other, lest they be run over by the Nara clan leader.
A few seconds later, Shikaku brought the wheelchair to a screeching halt. Thus allowing Hinata to exhale the breath she didn't even realize she had been holding. Helping the former Hyuga princess out of the chair, The Nara patriarch pointed to a door and said.
"This is the door to the observation room my Yoshi-chan is inside. Thank you again for helping me and her. You have no idea how much this means to me. I wish I could stay and introduce you properly, but I've taken too much time as it is to carryout Hokage Tsunade's orders. Thank you again and I'll be back as soon as I can."
Shikaku bowed once more in respect and gratitude to Hinata, before he then disappeared in a swirl of leaves.
Hinata turned to stare at the door for a few seconds, before she stepped forward and nervously reached for the doorknob, while saying to herself.
"You can do this Hinata."
Isamu attempted to grab Moegi and pull her behind him, so he could take the killing blow from the Oto curse-sealed soldier, but his injured shoulder prevented him from doing that. All he could do with his left arm, was pull the young girl tightly into his chest and close his eyes and hope that the creature would strike him instead of her. A moment later, when he should have felt or heard the murderous strike killing either himself or Moegi, but the veteran Leaf shinobi felt or heard...nothing. Tentatively opening his eyes, Isamu gasped in shock when he saw the creature's trembling fist hovering mere inches above Moegi's head. Scooting back away from the fist and bringing Moegi with him. It was then Isamu heard a voice call out to the young girl offering advice to her.
"Moegi, always keep your head on a swivel when you're on the battlefield, because the enemy isn't going to care whether you're a medic or not. So you need to always watch your back."
"Shikamaru sensei!" The young kunoichi cried out in surprise.
Isamu quickly turned his head to see Major Nara, the second in command of the Leaf forces here at the village standing with his hands brought together in a unique hand-sign. It took a moment, but Isamu suddenly realized he was witnessing the famous Nara clan jutsu Kage Nui Yari (Shadow Sewing Spear Technique) in use. The veteran Leaf shinobi looked on in awe, as he had heard about this jutsu, but had never seen it before.
The Major in utilizing this jutsu had impaled the curse-sealed soldier several times over with tendril shafts of black shooting up and out from the Nara heirs shadow. The fact that the monster was being suspended in midair by these black tendrils piercing its body must have been an improvement to the jutsu by Shikamaru. As when this jutsu had been employed in the past by a Nara clan member, it had only produced a single tendril shaft of black from a shadow, not multiple ones.
Shikamaru walked up to the suspended creature and looked up to it's drooling growling face and he stated to it with a hint of fascination..
"You are most interesting and though it would please me very much to kill you. I think our Hokage and some of the scientist back in Konoha should take a much closer look at you."
With a quick gesture of his hand, the snarling Oto monstrosity was lifted higher into the air, before Shikamaru made a waving motion and the beast still alive was unceremoniously dumped back into the killing box. The Nara commander then asked the five Leaf shinobi who had accompanied him if any of them were katon users. When two of them stepped forward, he immediately pointed over the edge to the pile of corpses at the base of the wall and ordered with authority.
"I want that pile of bodies turned to ashes at once!"
Both Leaf ninja leaned over the wall and quickly went through a string of hand seals, before bringing their hand up to their faces and both shouted.
"Karyuu Endan!" (Fire Dragon Flame Projectile)
Instantly, a large jet of fire blew from their mouths into the corpses, causing them to be engulfed in flames.
Shikamaru then turned back around and stepped towards Isamu and Moegi who could only stare at him in admiration, before he asked the young medic.
"Moegi, are you going to stare at me all day or are you going to get that shinobi's shoulder fixed?"
"R-right, I'm sorry Shikamaru-sensei." The orange-haired kunoichi quickly answered, as she turned her attention back to Isamu's wounded shoulder.
As Shikamaru ordered some of the ninja he brought with him to man this defensive position. Isamu leaned down and whispered in Moegi's ear.
"I heard you refer to the Major as sensei. Is he really your teacher?"
"No, I just address him as sensei, because he's my boyfriend's teacher that's all." Moegi casually answered, before she added.
"Ok, this is going to sting a bit, but I need to sterilize and then anesthetize the wound."
"Go ahead, do what you must, I trust you."
The young medic nodded and appreciated Isamu's belief in her, as she sprayed a disinfectant onto the wound, before she pulled out of her bag a strange tube. Shikamaru noticed this and kneeled down next to Moegi, as he asked in curiosity.
"What is that?"
"This is something newly developed by Lady Tsunade, it's called a Blood Stopper Gel. It will stop the bleeding and anesthetize his shoulder, while I suture his wound close. The Hokage has ordered that all medic-nins carry it within their kits."
"I've never seen it before." Isamu openly remarked.
""Well,...it, it's never been battlefield tested before. If you don't want me to use it sir I..."
"No, no, it's alright, you can use it on me. And please, you don't have to refer to me as sir. I'm no officer like the Major here, I'm just a lowly Sargent that's all." Isamu replied, before Moegi could finish her sentence.
The orange-haired medic nodded her head, before she squeezed a large dollop of the gel into her hand and began working it into the injured shoulder.
"Damn! That shit burns like a bitch!" Isamu swore through gritted teeth, as he winced in pain. The veteran shinobi then realized the language he had just used around Moegi and dropping his head a bit sheepishly apologized.
"I'm, I'm sorry about my language, that was inappropriate of me to say."
For her part, Moegi only giggled a bit at the Sargent's penitent apology, before she commented with a bit of mirth.
"You don't have to apologize sir...I mean Sargent. I've heard much worse language from my own shishou, as well as her own master. I should have warned you in advance that this gel does burn like a...bitch, but it's only temporary and soon your shoulder will just feel numb."
"I can attest to that Sargent, Moegi's sensei is one of the few people I know who can swear like a sailor, fight like a demon, and yet is still one of the best medics around."
"Impressive, I'd like to meet your teacher if I ever get the chance Ms. Moegi and you're right. The burning sensation is gone and my shoulder is completely numb now."
Shikamaru was about to warn the Sargent about wanting to meet troublesome women when his radio blared to life with a word that sent a chill down his spine.
"Breach, breach, po-position thir-thirty four!"
'Damn, that's not good! That's over on the west end of the wall. Kakashi's over in that area, I'll have to trust that he can handle it, because it will take me several minutes, before I can get there. I've still got to shore up things over here first.' Shikamaru thought anxiously to himself, before he then started barking orders.
"You two, I want you to man this defensive position." The Nara commander said, while pointing to the two ninja who had destroyed the pile of corpses.
He then turned to Sargent Isamu and Moegi who was currently suturing up his shoulder and said.
"Moegi, when you're done with the Sargent, I need you to check on some of the other battle positions I passed getting here. A few of them have got wounded and while I don't think any of the injuries were too serious. I'd feel better having a highly trained medic check them out, just in case. Sargent, you're out of the fight with that shoulder, but I'd like you to assist her with any wounded that need to be transported to the Medical Triage Center."
Shikamaru then turned to the last three Leaf shinobi and ordered.
"You three with me, we need to get to position #34 and help Commander Kakashi asap!"
A minute later, Shikamaru and three of his ninja were racing one direction on the rampart to get to Kakashi, while Moegi and Sargent Isamu ran in the opposite direction to help anymore injured Leaf shinobi.
H-Hello...Yoshino-san...it's Hinata-Namikaze." Hinata hesitantly called out, as she tentatively opened the door and stepped into the observation room.
Hinata audibly gasped, when she caught sight of Yoshino and saw the terror-stricken visage the older woman bore upon her face, who asked in a choked voice.
"Hin-Hinata, wh-what are you doing here?"
One look at the pained and tear-streaked face of Yoshino and any nervousness or apprehension Hinata had been feeling evaporated in an instant. As she rushed over and enveloped the Nara matriarch in a hug, who softly wept into her shoulder.
"Yoshino-san, what's wrong? Did something happen to Temari-chan or the baby?" Hinata questioned in fearful concern.
At that moment, a cry of pain from Temari followed by the voice of Tsunade came from the speaker inside the observation room.
"That's it Temari, keep pushing, I can see the crown of its head starting to show. You're doing great, it won't be long now." Tsunade remarked in encouragement.
Yoshino pulled out of Hinata's comforting embrace and attempted to wipe away her tears with her hand. The Nara matriarch saw the genuine and sincere look of worry on Hinata's face, before she answered her question.
"No, do not worry, nothing has happened to either Temari or the baby. As you can see and hear, my daughter-in-law is still in the process of giving birth. But you didn't answer my question dear, what are you doing here?"
"Oh, I ran into Shikaku-sama outside and he asked me to come and sit with you, because he said you were feeling nervous about Temari-chan giving birth to your first grandchild."
"Nervous he said...ha! Leave it to my husband to still try and protect this foolish old woman's reputation." Yoshino declared in self-loathing.
"I, I don't understand? Are you saying that Shikaku-sama lied to me and you're not feeling nervous?"
"No, no my dear, he didn't lie to you. He just sort of...undersold what I'm going through right now. There are much better and more accurate adjectives he could have used to describe how I'm feeling."
"What other adjectives?" Hinata asked in curiosity.
"Terrified, I think would be the most accurate one that Shikaku-kun could have used."
"Why are you so frightened? You said nothing has gone wrong with either Temari-chan or the baby."
Yoshino leaned her head back and closed her eyes, as she pondered how to answer Hinata's question. Trying to determine just how much information she wanted to reveal to her. After a few seconds, the Nara clan matriarch decided she was too old and tired to try and edit what the truth was and she also felt that she could trust Hinata. The young woman was not known as a gossip, unlike her best friend and and Yoshino's goddaughter Ino. Who she dearly loved, but would never share what she was about to tell Hinata. Exhaling a weary sigh, Yoshino answered the question posed to her.
"Very few people know what I'm about to tell you dear. Even Shikamaru doesn't know know about this, but the reason I'm so scared right now is because I suffer from a psychological disorder called Tokophobia."
"Tokophobia, what is that?"
"The most basic definition of Tokophobia is a pathological fear of pregnancy and can lead to avoidance of childbirth."
"Oh, is that why Shikamaru is an only child?"
"No, my Tokophobia is not the reason for that. I would dearly have loved to have given him siblings, but I could not."
"I don't understand ?"
"You see my dear, Tokophobia can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary is morbid fear of childbirth in a woman, who has no previous experience of pregnancy. Secondary is morbid fear of childbirth developing after a traumatic obstetric event in a previous pregnancy. I'm in the secondary category." Yoshino explained, before taking a deep breath and then continued on.
"My pregnancy with Shikamaru well...to call it difficult would be an understatement. I swear every type of complication or malady associated with being pregnant, I came down with in spades. However, those nine months were a picnic compared to what almost happened while I was giving birth to my Shika-kun."
"What almost happened?"
"I, I almost lost him and I almost died as well." Yoshino softly answered, as a tear rolled down her cheek.
"Oh I'm so sorry Yoshino-san."
"Thank you, but as you can see Kami decided not to take either one of us that day. Nevertheless, because he almost lost both of us, Shikaku-kun decided he didn't want to risk my life in the future for the sake of having more children. I tried to argue and tell him I was willing to take that risk to give him more children, but he refused saying he didn't need more children, one was enough. That's why my Shika-kun doesn't have any brothers of sisters."
"Shikaku-sama loves you very much." Hinata openly commented.
"I suppose that's true and I do love him. I know it appears to people that I pick on him and call him a lazy slacker, which he is most of the time. But I would be lost without him in my life, which is why it still saddens me that I wasn't able to grant him more children."
Yoshino inhaled and then exhaled a deep breath and said in a derisive tone.
"So now you know that when it comes to childbirth, Shikamaru's mother is batshit crazy. Please don't tell my goddaughter about this. I know she's your best friend and I do love Ino-chan deeply, but I don't want the whole village to know how weak of mind and body I truly am."
"I don't think your weak of mind or body and while I don't think it's necessary, I do promise I won't discuss this with Ino-chan. However, I do think you're..."
Suddenly, the observation room door burst open and Keko Yamanaka came in speaking in a frantic voice interrupting Hinata.
"Yoshino, I'm so sorry, I just learned that Temari had gone into labor and I wanted to make sure your Tokoph...!"
The Yamanaka matriarch ceased speaking mid-sentence when she saw Hinata sitting next to Yoshino, who spoke up and said.
"You wanted to make sure my Tokophobia hadn't left me as a candidate for the rubber room at the Leaf loony bin."
"Hmmp, I can see the oh so elegant way you refer to where I work hasn't left you. So, you're doing ok?"
"I'm doing better than I was a short time ago. Thanks to my lazy slacker of a husband actually doing something right for a change. By asking Hinata-chan here to sit with me, before I had a nervous breakdown from my phobia addled brain.
"Yoshino, are you sure you want to be talking about you know." Keko asked, as she cast a quick glance at Hinata.
"Hinata knows all about my Tokophobia and the circumstances of how I became inflicted with it. I trust her not to speak about this to anyone and she even promised not to discuss it with the gossip queen of the Leaf village Ino. Yoshino stated in amusement.
"I should be insulted by that remark about my daughter, if unfortunately it wasn't true." Keko commented in reluctant agreement, before she then asked.
"How is Temari doing, has she had the baby yet?"
As if to answer Keko's question, a loud resounding smack was heard through the speaker, followed by the unmistakable sound of a baby crying.
"I guess she has." Hinata quipped merrily.
Yoshino's hand flew up to cover her mouth and tears of joy began to stream down her face, when she heard Tsunade happily say through the speaker.
"Congratulations Temari, you're now the proud mother of a bouncing baby boy."
"You here that Yoshino, you have a grandson, I'm so happy for you!" Keko exclaimed, as she and Hinata took turns hugging the new grandmother.
"Oh my Kami, I've killed one of the Konoha 10!" Ryota shouted in fear-frenzied panic, as he saw the geyser of black-colored blood still spraying out from Kiba's chest.
Sakura didn't have time for Ryota to have a breakdown and dropped the Needle forceps and sutures she had been holding onto the medical tray, before rearing back and slapping the panicked medic-nin right across his face, as she shouted with fury.
"Get it together Ryota, the patient isn't dead, but soon will be if you don't help me right now! Start packing the wound with soaked gauze! Kazane, get over here and provide suction, while I start suturing the liver closed. I'm going to be moving quickly, so make sure you keep up, because I've got to be able to see the wound to close it!"
"Hai!" Both Ryota and Kazane answered in unison, acknowledging they understood Sakura.
Sakura took a deep breath and quickly exhaled, as she was about to try a technique she had only just recently learned from her shishou Tsunade. Picking up the Needle forceps and sutures in her hands again, the pink-haired kunoichi began channeling chakra into her hands, before she pointed to where she wanted Kazane to begin.
"Start suction right there and move as I do down along the seam of the tear. Ryota, you start removing the soaked gauze behind Kazane, as we work our way down the seam. Both of you keep your concentration, as I'll be moving very fast!"
As Sakura reached down into Kiba's chest, both Ryota and Kazane gasped in shock when her hands became a blur of motion, as she began suturing the liver closed. It was all Kazane could do to move the suction tube in time, so as not to interfere with Sakura, while Ryota had the same issue in removing the soaked gauze in time for Kazane. Both the medic-nin and nurse were in awe at how quickly Sakura was moving and in under a minute, Tsunade's youngest protege had sutured the entire wound closed. However, the trio of medics couldn't take any time to admire Sakura's work or celebrate, as Kiba was still in danger, as Sakura ordered.
"Kazane, check Kiba's vitals and..."
That was as far as Sakura got to say, before a sound pierced the air around the trio causing all of them to grow rigid with terror. The heart monitor, which had been droning on with intermittent beeps during Kiba's operation was now only sending out one long and shrilling continuous …beep.
"Damn it, No!" Sakura cried out, before then shouting.
"Kazane, prepare me a syringe filled with 1mg of Epinephrine with a .22-gauge needle!"
Sakura then turned to Ryota and ordered.
"Ryota, check my sutures, make sure I didn't miss one and that they're holding. If they are then I need you to hold Kiba down, while I administer the adrenaline, as it's likely to cause his body convulse."
"Syringe is ready." Kazane stated, as she handed it over.
Sakura pulled the protective needle cap off with her teeth, before she brought the syringe down in a stabbing motion directly over Kiba's left chest. The needle pierced his breast bone and the contents of the syringe were injected directly into the Inuzuka's heart.
As Sakura expected, Kiba's entire body convulsed for a moment, before it fell with a thud back onto the operating table, as Sakura looked to Kazane and asked with a little trepidation.
"How are his vitals, any change in them?"
Kazane studied the instruments closely, before a smile spread across her face, as the heart monitor began sending out intermittent beeps once more and she answered in an excited voice.
"Hai, I have a heartbeat and it's beginning to rise, as are the rest of his vitals! I, I think he's going to make it Sakura-sama."
Sakura blew out a sigh of relief upon hearing this, before she then stated.
"Alright, Kazane continue to monitor those vitals, while Ryota and I get Kiba's chest closed up."
"You, you still want me to assist you Sakura-sama?" Ryota questioned in a hesitant voice.
"Of course I want you to assist me, why wouldn't I?"
"But, but about what happened earlier." Ryota stammered.
"Ryota, what happened earlier was not your fault. No one could have predicted the floor shifting like that. If I had been the one trying to remove that rib instead of you, I suspect that exact same thing would have happened. You're a talented medic, so don't blame yourself about something that you had no control over. It looks like Kiba is going to pull through, but he won't if we don't hurry up and get this exposed chest closed up."
"Hai Sakura-sama, th-thank you." Ryota gratefully replied, as he and Sakura began to suture Kiba closed.
As tears continued to roll down Yoshino's cheeks, she realized they weren't just being shed over the happiness of her grandson being born, but also from the overwhelming relief she felt now that the birth was over. The Nara clan matriarch needed to remember to thank her husband for asking Hinata to sit with her. Yoshino had gotten so wrapped up in her conversation with the young woman. It had diverted her attention away from the Tokophobia she had been trying unsuccessfully to cope with before Hinata's arrival. Now that the birth of her grandson was over and both he and Temari were doing fine, Yoshino could now breath a sigh of relief, as her terrible ordeal was finally over.
Suddenly, a cry of pain from Temari erupted from the speaker inside the observation room.
"What is it, what's going on?" Yoshino cried out in a panicked voice, before everyone heard Temari ask virtually the same question.
"Lady Tsunade, what's happening? Why are my contractions continuing?"
The blonde Hokage scurried back to the end of the birthing bed, as she thought Temari was just expelling her placental afterbirth. But the contractions to do that are usually very mild and not painful. So needless to say Tsuande was quite shocked when she saw the crown of the head of another baby begin to show, as she stammered incoherently.
"I, I, …...uhhhh,...oh my...how can this be?"
"What is it milady? Shizune questioned in confusion, before Tsuande cleared her throat and said.
"Ahem, Temari I know this is going to be a shock to you, it is to me, but we're not done here yet. Apparently, you have another child who wants to be born today."
"What, I, I, don't understand? Twins! Are you saying I'm having twins!"
"It appears to be the case." Tsunade solemnly answered.
"But, but how? Wouldn't you have discovered that during my pregnancy?" Temari stammered in bewilderment, as she looked back and forth between the Hokage and Shizune.
The only answer both women could give was a shrug of their shoulders, before Tsunade spoke up and stated.
"We'll figure out what happened later. Now, I need you to give me a big push on the next contraction Temari. If it's any consolation to you, since this baby's brother already paved the way so to speak. I don't envision this baby will take nearly as long to come into the world."
"Oh how can Kami do this to me again!" Yoshino wailed, and dropped her face into her hands sobbing, while her Tokophobia came roaring back in full force, as Keko and Hinata did their best to console and comfort the distraught woman.
True to Tsunade's word, Shikamaru and Temari's second child a daughter was born a mere seven minutes after her brother. However, those seven minutes would be forever burned into the minds of those who had witnessed the birth. As Temari had let loose during the birth a blue streak of curse words, promised beatings, and overt death threats towards her husband that would have made a pirate of the high seas blush.
As the three women watched through the one-way window of the observation room, Shizune and two nurses wheel Temari and her new children out of the delivery room. They began to rise from their seats to go check on the new mother. It was then that Hinata noticed who she thought had been just a male nurse holding Temari's hand during her labor, take off his surgical mask, cap, and gown. Hinata gasped in surprise when she saw that recognizable mane of golden blonde hair, as well as the handsome rugged face she loved and openly stammered in puzzlement.
"Nar, Naruto-kun, what is he doing here?"
"It's not your husband my dear, just one of his shadow-clones." Yoshino quickly answered.
"But, but why is one of Naru-kun's clones here helping to deliver Temari-chan's babies?"
"Well, my daughter-in-law sort of...volunteered him to hold her hand and support her, since my son wasn't able to be here to do that job. I'm sure you remember that the plan for Temari and you was when either of you went into labor Naruto was going to use the Hiraishin no Jutsu to transport Shikamaru or himself to be here for your deliveries. The reason your husband's clone is here was to bring news of an attack at one of the border villages with the Rice country by Sound forces. Which is what sent my husband away to put together a relief strike force to go and reinforce our forces."
"An attack, which village is being attacked?"
"Oh no! That's the village Kiba-kun was stationed at to protect. I hope he is ok?" Hinata commented in sincere concern.
Unseen by Hinata, Yoshino bit her lower lip slightly, as she knew Kiba was far from being ok. The Nara matriarch struggled with how much information she should divulge to the young Hyuga woman. After a moment, she decided due to Hinata's condition and not wanting to place any stress upon her, to keep the information as basic and brief as she could in her reply.
"I'm sure Kiba-san and the village are going to be fine. My son along with your husband and Commander Kakashi arrived with reinforcements to help defend Hiezu, before the attack started. And with those three Jounin leading the way, those Sound forces don't stand a chance." Yoshino declared with boastful confidence.
Hinata's anxiety did lessen a bit after hearing Yoshino's confident proclamation. Which lasted up until she heard through the speaker Tsunade ask a question to the clone.
"I'm confused about something, how are you here? I mean as far as I know, clones can't perform the Hiraishin no Jutsu."
"No, we can't." The clone answered hastily.
"Then how did you get here?"
"Well, like I told you earlier, Kiba-san got hurt pretty badly by Sasuke in their fight. It was so bad that the head doc said if he didn't receive an operation soon, that Kiba-san could die. But the doc told the boss that he wasn't good enough to do the operation himself. He said he knew of only three people he thought could perform the operation that would give Kiba-san a good shot at surviving."
"Who were the three people?" Tsunade asked, though she suspected she knew the answer.
"You Hokage-sama, Shizune-san, and Sakura-san."
"Alright, I can hazard a guess at what happened next knowing your boss as I do. But please tell me just so I can confirm my suspicions."
"Uhh, well the boss decided to Hiraishin back here to find either you, Shizune-san, or Sakura-san and take them back to Hiezu village to save Kiba-san."
"And since Shizune just got done assisting me with Temari's twins, I'm guessing Naruto found Sakura first. Is that correct?"
"So let me get this all straight, Naruto using the Flying Thunder God technique came to Konoha. Then proceeds to kidnap my second apprentice to take back to Hiezu village to save Kiba. But before he goes, he leaves you behind to tell me that Sasuke Uchiha is attacking Hiezu village with 500 Oto curse-sealed monsters. Does that about sum it all up?" Tsunade asked with clear agitation.
"Umm, it was only 400 Oto curse-sealed soldiers now, Kiba-san and his men managed to take down 100 of them, before the boss arrived with reinforcements. And I wouldn't say the boss kidnapped Sakura-san, she went willingly with him."
"I suppose she did." Tsunade remarked in exasperation, for she knew that was the truth, as Sakura would never not go to help a friend or comrade. Especially, not one of the Konoha 10 no matter how dangerous the situation in doing so might be. The blonde Hokage dreaded asking this next question, as she was certain she already knew the answer.
"After Naruto brought Sakura to Hiezu to save Kiba, what was he going to do next?"
"I don't really know, since I'm not there. I do know the boss was pretty pissed off about what happened to Kiba-san. So if I had to guess, I would say he's going to go out and fight the teme and make him pay for what he did to Kiba-san. Among all the other things that bastard has done or threatened to do to his precious people."
"What are his intentions? I mean, how far is he willing to go?"
"What are his intentions? How far is he willing to go? What silly questions you ask Hokage-sama. You know exactly what the boss intends to do and how far he'll go to do it. The boss is going out to kill Sasuke Uchiha!" The clone replied incredulously, before he paused a moment and then added in a grim tone of voice.
"Or die trying."
Those final three words from the clone was the final straw that broke Hinata's proverbial back. The young woman had been listening to the conversation between Tsunade and the Naruto clone the past few minutes in abject horror. First to hear the news about Kiba's life and death struggle. Then to hear that many of her family and friends were fighting in a battle against 400 Oto curse-sealed monsters. And then finally to hear that Hinata's greatest fear she carried could come to pass, was too much for her to take.
Suddenly, an intense pain erupted from Hinata's midsection, as she gripped her stomach with her arms and cried out.
Hinata's final word to her question drifted away, as her eyes rolled to the back of her head and she began to fall to the floor. However, before the darkness claimed her, Hinata thought she felt something give way beneath her, before she slipped unconscious.
Hinata's cry of pain snapped Yoshino out of the stupor she had been in the past few minutes. The Nara matriarch couldn't believe that the information she had tried to keep from Hinata about Kiba and the severity of the attack on Hiezu village, had been divulged by Tsunade and the clone. As Yoshino saw Hinata collapse, she moved to catch her, but fortunately Keko had been quicker and caught the young woman first and gently lowered her to the floor. It was then Yoshino noticed a small pool of clear fluid at Hinata's feet. She knew exactly what that liquid was and immediately stepped over to the intercom and hit the transmission button and shouted.
"Lady Tsunade, Hinata Namikaze has collapsed in here and her water has broke! I think she might be going into premature labor!"
"Hinata, what is she doing in there? Oh Kami!" Tsunade questioned in confusion, before her face turned ashen white, as she remembered in a panic what she and the clone had been talking about the past few minutes.
'If Hinata heard that entire conversation...oh Kami no!' Tsunade thought to herself, as she raced over to the Hospital intercom system and sent a message throughout the entire building.
"I have a code blue at Obstetrics observation room #2 and need an emergency response team there stat! Take the patient into into birthing room #4 and Shizune meet me there!"
Tsunade, then turned to the clone and said.
"You're with me! I have a bad feeling that Hinata overheard everything you and I just discussed about your boss. So you're going to do your damnedest to help me and her deliver this baby. Do you understand?"
"Hai Hokage-sama, I understand." The clone morosely answered, as he thought about Naruto specifically ordering him not to divulge any other information to Hinata other than that the boss loved and missed her. And to now learn she had heard everything that Naruto wanted to keep from her and that it had put her peril. The clone took solace in the fact that he wasn't truly a living being, because if he was he was positive that the boss would kill him him over this happening.
As the three members of the Konoha 10 picked themselves off the ground. It was Neji who anxiously stated, as they all saw the massive Oto behemoth take a step towards them.
"Ok Lee, we're out of time, so keep it short and to the point. What's this battle plan you've come up with to take this thing down?"
"For my strategy to work it's going to take the efforts of all three of us, plus the eight shinobi you have under your command Shino."
"I understand, go on."
"First, we need to buy a few minutes of time. Can you use your kikai insects to harass and slow the vile beast down again?" Lee questioned.
"I can try."
Both Lee and Neji watched, as their comrade Shino raised his arms and a moment later a wave of his kikai insects shot forth from his sleeves, to attack the face of the Oto monstrosity. Fortunately as before, this caused the beast to halt its advance, as it began to flail its arms about, swiping at the multitude of bugs buzzing around and attacking its face again.
"Ok, he's paused again for the moment, what now?" Neji questioned.
"Now, upon my signal, I need you to rush in and using your Gentle Fist technique to send chakra pulses into that monsters legs destroying his tenketsu points, arteries, veins, anything you can think of to damage, but I need to have that creature on his knees."
"That won't work, we already know the healing properties of this beast is practically instantaneous. Anything I damage or destroy will just be regenerated within a minute or two."
"I know this, but a minute or two is all I'll need to power up and unleash my attack."
"Why do you need this creature on it's knees for your attack to work?" Shino asked in curiosity.
"Actually, I need it on its back for my attack to work, but that is where you and your men come into play. When that monstrosity is on its knees, I need your men to hit it with their most powerful and damaging jutsu's concentrated onto one specific spot on its chest, while you keep it blinded with your kikai insects. The force of that combined attack should not only knock it over onto its back, but also damage the area enough albeit briefly before it heals to allow me hit it there with my attack."
"What area are you wanting my men to strike with their jutsu's?"
"Upper left-side of its chest, directly above that foul creature's black heart!"
"What attack are you planning to use Lee?" Neji asked with concern, as he already suspected what his friend and teammate was planning to do."
Lee paused a few seconds, before he stoically answered.
"I'm going to use the Forbidden Lotus technique."
"I knew it, you can't do that! Gai-sensei has forbidden you from using that technique, hence its name. You could die from using that technique!" Neji angrily shouted at his friend.
"I must concur with Neji-san, I do not wish you to die by using such a dangerous technique, just to defeat an enemy. We'll think of something else." Shino declared in agreement.
"Yosh, it swells my heart with pride and gratitude in having comrades show such concern for me. However, we do not have the time to come up with something else. Unless we stop this evil beast here and now, it will rampage on and kill everyone at the Medical Triage center, and I cannot...no, I will not allow that to happen, not while I still have a breath within me to fight it!"
"Admit it, this isn't about saving everyone at the Medical Triage center, this is about saving Sakura isn't it." Neji spat out in frustration towards his friend.
Lee gazed soberly at his teammate for a moment, before he softly replied.
"Perhaps it is my friend, but that doesn't change the end result. If I stop this monster here and now, not only is my Sakura-chan saved, but also Kiba and everyone else. And as you know, to save a loved one when you have no other options available is the one tenant Gai-sensei allows for the use of the Lotus technique."
"Hai, I know, but I still don't like it. You really love Sakura that much to do this?"
"I love her as much as you love Tenten-chan, and I know were our situations reversed, you would do the same thing to save her."
Neji couldn't refute that and stood unmoving, his silence as much confirming what Lee had just stated.
"Since we can't dissuade you from this path Lee, let me see if I understand your battle plan fully. You propose that I keep my kikai harassing and blinding the monster, while you power up your technique. Then upon your signal, Neji will attempt to momentarily disable the creature's legs and force it to the ground upon its knees. At which point my shinobi are to target and unleash their most powerful jutsu's to its chest above its heart, weakening that area, while also knocking it backwards. Then you will follow up with your final attack to take down the beast once and for all."
"Hai, that is my plan Shino."
"Where do you plan to launch your attack from?"
"From above, as I plan to strike like a lightning bolt hurled by Kami himself!" Lee proclaimed with zeal.
"The most optimum time to maximize your attack would be to hit the creature mere seconds after Shino's men jutsu's have struck the creature," Neji openly stated.
"I agree, timing will be most critical for this strategy to succeed." Shino replied, before he then asked.
"How do you propose to kill this monstrosity with your attack?"
"Yosh, I plan to hit the despicable beast from above and plunge my arms through the opening your men provide and rip its wretched beating heart out of its body. Even with its exceptional healing properties, I highly doubt it can regenerate a new heart in time to save itself."
"Let's hope not, because if it can then were royally screwed." Neji absently remarked, before he, Shino, made their way over to the eight shinobi under Shino's command to explain and coordinate Lee's battle plan to defeat this Oto mutant soldier once and for all.
Meanwhile, Lee closed his eyes to mentally prepare himself for what he was about to do. After a minute of peaceful contemplation, he quietly uttered and began to release the gates of the Forbidden Lotus technique.
"Kaimon." (Initial Gate)
Unseen by all was the release of the first of his body's Celestial Gates or Hachimon, which are the eight valves located along the spine, heart and brain responsible for regulating the flow of chakra by the chakra circulatory system each person has within them. By opening the first of the Celestial Gates, the Initial Gate, Lee released the restraints in his brain and dramatically increased his speed and power at that moment. As his eyes glazed over white and all of the veins on his body began flexing outward against his skin.
A moment later, Lee softly called out.
"Kyuumon." (Rest Gate)
Instantly, the second Celestial Gates in his brain was released and Lee's stamina shot up significantly, while the pain he had been enduring lessened and he began to heal and recover after being weakened by his battles with the curse-sealed soldiers at the walls. It was when Lee quietly called out and released the third Celestial Gate in his spine that people could now physically see and feel the significant power increase happening within the green clad young man.
"Seimon." (Life Gate)
Instantaneously a red colored chakra flare erupted from Lee's body bathing the young shinobi in an aura of crimson. Soon, everyone could feel the ground slowly vibrate and one could see stones actually levitating in the air around Lee from the power he was producing.
"Shoumon!" (Wound Gate)
The red chakra surrounding Lee's body flared up once again upon the opening of the fourth gate indicating another massive increase in speed and power for the young shinobi. Now Lee had reached the stage where so much power was coursing through his body that prolonged usage of it would soon begin to tear his body's muscles apart.
"Tomon!" (Limit Gate)
The red chakra around Lee's body flared up even brighter upon opening the fifth gate signifying another tremendous increase in speed and power he can utilize. As the huge red flare of chakra erupted around the green clad shinobi. Neji, Shino, and the others actually felt the wave of power wash over them, as the fifth Celestial Gate located in Lee's spine was opened. They also saw the stones that had been levitating around Lee's body were beginning to crumble to dust. While the very ground they stood upon began to rumble and shake as if experiencing a small earthquake.
Under normal circumstances and against a normal opponent, Lee would have already used the Ura Renge (Reverse Lotus) technique upon his opening of the Life Gate. However, against this mammoth monstrosity, he already knew such an attack would be pointless. Lee would have to concentrate all of his chakra into one final killing blow. He just hoped that he had grown strong enough to avoid suffering any compound fractures, as he did the last time when he used this technique against Sasuke during the invasion.
Looking over, he saw Neji, Shino, and the rest of the Leaf shinobi were in position to carry out his plan to finish this beast off once and for all. Inhaling and then exhaling a deep breath, Lee shouted to his comrades.
"Now my friends!"
Shino immediately raised his arms and let loose all the remaining kikai insects he had left in the colony within him. To continue and harass the Oto creatures face, blinding it while Neji rushed forward to attack the monster's legs destroying as many of its tenketsu points, arteries, and veins as he could. When Lee saw Neji rush forward, he channeled a massive amount of chakra to his legs and then leapt skyward trailing a stream of red chakra behind him like a plume from a jet airplane. Upon reaching the apex of his astonishing leap Lee looked down and saw that Neji had succeeded in forcing the creature onto its knees. Seeing this he yelled out to Shino and his men.
"Hit it now Shino!"
Instantly, Shino and the eight remaining shinobi under his command let loose a barrage of their most powerful and damaging jutsu's concentrated onto one specific spot of the creature's chest. The upper left-side directly above its heart. Neji using his byakugan focused on that spot and in a rare moment of delight for the Hyuga saw that the combined attack was indeed working. He could see the skin and the muscle fibers of the curse-sealed soldiers chest begin to split open, before it began to fall over onto its back and he shouted.
"It's working, keep it up!"
Above in the sky, one of the benefits of using the Forbidden Lotus technique, besides an increase in speed and power was that it also greatly enhanced the users senses. So Lee heard Neji's shout and balling his hands into fists, he thrust his arms in front of him and using his chakra began his decent towards the Oto mutant like a bullet fired from a gun.
Shino saw Lee shooting downward and at the last possible moment before Lee would strike the creature, he ordered his men to cease their assault. A fraction of a second later, Lee struck the creature at the point of their attack with such force, that the concussive shockwave that exploded from the impact knocked everyone down to the ground. While a plume of dust and debris rose skyward in the shape of a small mushroom cloud. As Shino and his men picked themselves up off the ground and attempted to stumble forward, he called out.
"I can't see through the dust Neji, did it work?"
"I, I don't know, I've got some dust in my eyes and can't see anything at the moment." Neji stammered in response, while trying to wash his eyes out from his canteen.
Suddenly, a deafening monstrous roar pierced the air from inside the dust cloud. So loud was the cry, that everyone clamped their hands over their ears in an attempt to stifle the thunderous blast. A sense of fear and dread came over both Neji and Shino, as they looked at one another in abject horror at what this roar means. Then both shinobi became disheartened at what it might also mean for the fate of their friend Rock Lee.
Both Naruto and Sasukejumped a few feet awayfrom each other after another clash of their weapons was ineffectual once more. Both men were panting slightly, as they attempted to catch their breath. So far, the weapons battle had been a stalemate between the two former teammates, although one could see several bloody cuts and tears in the clothing both men wore. A testament that blows had been landed by both combatants, but all injuries were swiftly healed by the demonic powers both of them possessed. Sasuke was growing increasingly frustrated, as he thought to himself.
'Damn it, I'm a kenjutsu master, this fool should have been dead by my blade from the start of this fight. I can't believe the dobe's made up weapon is proving so difficult for me to battle against!'
For his part, Naruto pondered his rival and the fight they were in.
'I hate to admit it, but the teme is damn good with that sword he's got, but I can tell he's starting to get pissed off. I'm sure mister high and mighty Uchiha thought he was invincible with that blade. His anger is going to cause him to become reckless in his attacks, so I've got to make sure when he leaves me an opening that I strike upon it.'
As if on cue, Sasuke took a step forward and made a rather clumsy high sword slash, which Naruto easily deflected with his blade, before advancing and making a vicious forward and back slash to Sasuke's face with his other blade, which the Uchiha narrowly avoided. Sasuke twisted away and swiftly brought his blade around 180 degrees and attempted to bisect his opponent at his torso, but Naruto had already jumped back to avoid the strike and it caught nothing but air, infuriating Sasuke to no end.
Sasuke glared at Naruto, while holding with both hands his Kusanagi blade in front of him pointing it directly at Naruto. If this was meant to intimidate him, it failed miserably, as all Naruto did was expertly twirl his bladed-sai weapons in and around his body, while glaring back at the Uchiha.
Sasuke then made a quick thrust forward with his sword, which Naruto parried, while he stepped to the side, as Sasuke attempted a a high vertical slash immediately after his failed thrust. Unfortunately, because Naruto had moved to the side, it left the Uchiha's back exposed and the blonde Jounin took full advantage of and delivered a brutal back-kick behind Sasuke's knee forcing down kneeling off his other leg. Naruto immediately tried to cleave Sasuke's head from behind, but the Uchiha brought his sword up above his head blocking the killing blow, before spinning around and making a vicious horizontal slash forcing Naruto to jump back to avoid the strike.
Naruto then quickly stepped forward and brought both his blades down in an attempt to keep Sasuke kneeling on one leg. Unfortunately, the Uchiha swiftly blocked the attack and straining to keep Naruto's blades in check was able to rise to his feet once more. Seeing that he was unable to keep Sasuke down, Naruto then delivered a brutal front kick to Sasuke's midsection forcing him back a couple of steps, before following up his kick with a jumping kick aimed at Sasuke's face, followed swiftly by a roundhouse kick, forcing the Uchiha to retreat back even further.
Sasuke hastily brought up his Kusanagi blade in front of him pointing it directly at Naruto to halt any further advance by his former teammate. Realizing his opportunity to attack any further had closed, Naruto twirled his weapons, before crouching slightly in a defensive posture and holding both blades pointing vertically in front of him, waiting for Sasuke to make the next move.
Once more Sasuke made a quick thrust forward with his sword, which Naruto parried, but the Uchiha surprised him by making another forward strike forcing Naruto to defelect the blade again to the side. Meanwhile, after making these two fast successive attacks, Sasuke immediately brought his blade down in a two-handed vertical slash. Naruto was able to block the strike, but the force of the blow was so powerful that he realized Sasuke was using demonic enhanced strength in his attempt to cut him in half. The immense pressure being exerted by Sasuke to cleave Naruto in two, forced the blonde jinchuuriki to bring up his other blade to help stave off Sasuke's strike.
Naruto knew he needed to do something fast to thwart this attack and he hooked Sasuke's sword with one of the curved side-prongs on one of his blades to pull the sword to the side. While he then flipped the other blade around in his hand with the end of the ringed pommel protruding from his fist and threw a punch at the Uchiha's face. Sasuke was forced twist his head to the side to avoid the blow, but pumping even more demonic chakra into his arms he was able pull his sword back over to the other side causing it slip free of the curved side-prong. He then unleashed a horizontal slash that would have decapitated Naruto had he not ducked just in the nick of time.
Being so low to the ground, Naruto unleashed a couple of spinning back-kicks in an attempt to sweep Sasuke's legs out from under him. Unfortunately, the Uchiha was able to jump back to avoid the the kicks. However, Naruto's counterattack did provide enough space to allow the blonde Jounin to execute a backward somersault to land on his feet and rise to face Sasuke upright once again.
Breathing heavily, Sasuke and Naruto circled one another and both of them silently came to the same conclusion, this fight needed to end. The Uchiha decided it was time to unleash his most potent sword attack. It had never failed him before and he was positive it would end this battle once and for all. Fully confident, Sasuke continued to circle Naruto, as a smug grin spread across his face. Naruto's own expression was of grim concentration, his bladed-sai weapons held loose and easy in his hands, tracking Sasuke's movements like a hunter tracks his prey.
Round and round they circled one another, as Naruto tightened his grip on his blades, marking Sasuke's stance and moves, looking for an opening. Sasuke attacked once more and their blades met and rebounded a dozen times in quick, testing blows, each taking the measure of the other. Then Naruto seemingly made a mistake, as he allowed one of his blades to drop a fraction, angling the blade away from his body. Sasuke saw this and surged forward and swung into the opening Naruto had left.
However, it had been a ruse by Naruto who danced away from the strike his weapon back up to parry the blow. Then as Sasuke stumbled past him he struck out at his unprotected back. His blade bit deep, as it slashed across Sasuke's skin. The edge glinted red, as he met Sasuke's shocked gaze, and now it was his turn to grin at the Uchiha. Taking advantage of the moment, Naruto stepped forward and attacked, using his momentum, he began to drive Sasuke back step by step.
Sasuke's face was contorted with effort, as he met each blow, his Kusanagi sword alive in his hand, as Naruto forced him to defend. The Uchiha realized he had to use his ultimate kenjutsu attack right now. As Naruto pressed forward to continue his assualt, Sasuke lashed out with his foot, catching Naruto's ankle and sent him sprawling to the dirt. For a moment he lay stunned, before Sasuke was over him in an instant with a dagger in his left hand from seemingly out of nowhere. However, before he was about to strike with this new blade, Naruto twisted to one side, balled his knees to his chest and kicked out at Sasuke's wrist, breaking it and sending the dagger flying out of his hand.
The Uchiha roared in pain and shushin'd several yards away to put some distance between himself and Naruto to gain some time to allow his demonic healing powers to mend his wrist. Naruto quickly flipped up to land on his feet, but winced in pain when he landed and realized that Sasuke must have broken his ankle with that kick, so he too needed some time to allow his own demonic healing powers to fix him as well. Deciding to try and anger Sasuke further to make him more mistake prone and reckless, Naruto called out to his former friend and teammate.
"Hey teme, you cheating bastard! What's the deal sneaking that knife into our fight? I thought you were all fired up to kill me with that fancy sword of yours. What did you call it, Kusanoogie...Kusawhacky...?"
"Kusanagi you dobe and you'll remember its name right before I use it to take off your head!" Sasuke fired back in a rage, while shaking his left wrist as it had almost healed fully.
"Whatever teme, truth be told I've seen better blades in a butcher shop." Naruto sarcastically replied, while shaking his ankle, as it to had almost healed completely.
Sasuke gritted his teeth with fury, before he spat out in pure malevolence.
"I'm sick of you dobe! I'm going kill you now and then I'm going to burn that village down to the ground. While it's burning I'm going to take great delight in torturing all of your so called precious people. Not to mention what I have planned for Sakura, because if you think what I did to her at our last reunion was so horrible. It's nothing compared to what I'm going to do to her now!"
Naruto's eyes narrowed and he leveled a deadly glare towards his former friend and announced in an icy tone of voice.
"You should really learn to shut the fuck up during a fight. You made a similar comment to me at the start of our little dance. I told you then you just bought yourself a one way ticket to Hell, but I guess you need a reminder. You're not going to do any of those things, because I'm going to kill you teme, right here, right now!"
As Sasuke heard this, a massive wave of killing intent slammed into him like a punch and he began to pant heavily to try and catch his breath. After a moment, he was finally able to regain control of his breathing and with his wrist fully mended. He brought his Kusanagi up with both hands in front of him and pointed it directly at Naruto and declared.
"It's time to end this dobe!"
"Of that we can agree teme!" Naruto replied, as he took a defensive stance, his ankle now fully mended as well.
Sasuke attacked once more and their blades met and clashed several times over in quick succession. In fact, both Naruto and Sasuke were putting so much demonic enhanced power and speed into their strikes, that sparks of electric blue flew from their blades when they struck each other.
As they clashed, Sasuke surprised Naruto by quickly turning 180 degrees and and delivering a horizontal slash the would have cut Naruto head in half, had he not dropped to one knee to avoid the deadly swing. Sasuke immediately tried an overhead strike, as his foe was now kneeling in front of him. However, Naruto was able to bring the bladed-sai in his left hand to block the sword, while he used the ringed pommel of his weapon in his right hand to deliver a vicious punch to Sasuke's gut causing the Uchiha to bend forward and drop to one knee.
Naruto took a quick step back to rise to his feet, before he jumped forward to drive one of his blades into Sasuk'e head. Unfortunately, the Uchiha was able to swiftly rise up and block the attack, to which Naruto then delivered a nasty right legged hook kick to Sasuke's ribs causing him to bend over slightly. To which Naruto sent a sweeping front kick with his other leg to Sasuke's head that struck true and spun around the Uchiha who fell to the ground back first and was now looking up, his head laying in between Naruto feet.
Naruto instantly dropped into a leg-split and attempted to drive the points of both his blades into Sasuke's eyes and through the back of his skull. In desperation, Sasuke was able to bring his Kusanagi blade up horizontally and catch the side-prongs of Naruto weapons and prevent them from descending any further. In a panic at seeing Naruto's blades hovering a mere inch above his precious eyes. Sasuke pumped a massive amount of demonic chakra into his arms and was able to throw Naruto off to the side.
Both shinobi still lying prone on the ground exchanged strikes and parries, before Sasuke landed a kick to Naruto's face. The blonde Jounin rolled with the kick and sprang to his feet and moved to attack, but Sasuke was able to send a sweeping slash at Naruto's legs forcing him to jump up to avoid the strike. As he did this, Sasuke rolled into a backwards somersault to land on his feet and rise to face Naruto again.
Taking no time to pause, both of them let loose with another series of strikes and parries, before Sasuke caught Naruto by surprise again, as he delivered a sweeping front kick to Naruto's left hand, which sent his blade flying out of it. Sasuke then made an overhand vertical strike, which Naruto was forced to block with the remaining blade he had. As he did this, the Uchiha followed up his attack and unleashed devastating side-kick to Naruto's chest causing the blonde Jinchuuriki to start to stumble backwards. However, before Naruto was able to get clear of Sasuke's attack range, the Uchiha rapidly spun around and delivered a savage roundhouse kick to Naruto's right hand and sent that blade flying away.
Sasuke's eyes lit up with glee, as Naruto was standing only 12 feet away and was now completely weaponless. He then gripped his sword with two hands and raised it above his head, before in a maniacal voice, he shouted with exhilaration and rushed forward.
"You're dead Naruto!"
As Sasuke swung his Kusanagi blade down in its murderous arc, a bright golden light momentarily blinded him, but he still followed through with the strike. However, the sword caught nothing but air, which confused Sasuke greatly, before he heard the sound of growing laughter behind him. Whirling around he saw Naruto twenty feet away from him chuckling, as he knelt down to pick up one of his bladed-sai weapons. Looking back at the bewildered look on Sasuke's face, Naruto rose to his feet and stated.
"You look puzzled teme, don't tell me you've already forgotten what I talked about earlier about my blades. I mean I did tell you that they're a modified version of my dad's Hiraishin kunai. You see, when I returned to the village, I had Tenten's dad make a new pair of these modified Hiraishin kunai. I mean Hanshiro-sama helped to create with my dad years ago the Hiraishin kunai. It seemed only natural to ask him to help me fashion my weapons. Which means that while the design and overall length of the kunai has changed to resemble more of a Sai type weapon. It still has the same properties that allowed my dad and now me to use the Hiraishin no jutsu just like he did. And man does Hanshiro-sama do good work, he really is the best weapons maker in all the elemental nations. Anyway, I guess I did forget to mention that in our conversation earlier. Oooooops,...my bad teme,... ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Sasuke was beyond furious, as he stalked forward towards his laughing former teammate, before his foot stepped on something. Taking a step back, he looked down and saw it was Naruto's other bladed-Sai. Naruto's laughter abruptly stopped and Sasuke heard him say in a mournful voice.
"I'm sorry Sasuke."
Before Sasuke could ponder the sudden change in Naruto's voice, a bright golden light flashed in front of him and he was momentarily blinded once again. However, this time Sasuke also felt something impact his chest followed by an intense pain emanating from there. When his vision cleared, Sasuke looked down and saw one of Naruto's blades embedded to the hilt sticking out of his chest.
Confused and not understanding what had just happened, Sasuke lifted his head to gaze at Naruto who bore an anguished and almost grief-stricken visage upon his face. Still not comprehending what had occurred, Sasuke didn't even notice his Kusanagi blade slip from his hand and fall to the ground. Nor did he feel himself fall backwards and land with a contemptible thump onto his back, as his entire body had seemingly gone numb for some reason.
As this was happening, all Naruto could do was watch sadly, as the life ebbed out of the man who had once been his closest friend.
As Ino and Tenten entered the Obstetrics wing of the Konoha hospital, they were both excited for their friend Temari and wondered if she had already given birth. When they got to the Obstetrics waiting room, Ino was surprised to see not only her mother in there, but also her godmother Yoshino sitting in the room. Confused as to why she would be there and not in the Obstetrics observation room to witness Temari giving birth to her first grandchild. Walking over to them Ino greeted both women cordially and with respect.
"Mom, Nadzukeoya (Godmother) Nara, what are you two doing here? Shouldn't you be in the observation room to see Temari give birth to your grandchild?"
"I was there Magomusume (Goddaughter), Temari has already given birth to both grandchildren." Yoshino replied with a smile on her face.
"Both! You mean Temari had twins!" Tenten exclaimed in surprise.
"Hai, she did." Keko answered.
"But, but, I don't understand, Temari never mentioned that she was having twins." Ino questioned in puzzlement.
"Umm well, it was a surprise to her as well." Yoshino stated.
"I'll say, to go in expecting to give birth to one kid and suddenly have two pop out, must have blown her mind. But how did it happen? How could she not know she was carrying twins, wouldn't Lady Tsunade had told her that during her pregnancy." Ino openly commented in disbelief.
"Lady Tsunade was just as shocked as everyone else, but said she would figure it out later, as right now she has more pressing matters to deal with at the moment." A pensive look then spread across Yoshino's face, before she turned to Keko and asked.
"Should we tell them?"
Keko contemplated Yoshino's question deeply, before she finally exhaled a deep breath and answered.
"Hai, they're both two of Hinata's closest friends, they should know the truth."
"Hin-Hinata, what has she got to do with this, what truth?" Ino stammered in confusion.
"Yeah, what about Hinata?" Tenten chimed in with growing concern.
"Both of you please sit down, and we'll tell you everything we know." Yoshino stated in as calm and soothing voice, as she could muster.
Several minutes later, both Ino and Tenten had been told of everything from Sasuke's attack on Hiezu village, to Kiba's dire injuries suffered at the hands of the Uchiha, and what had happened to Hinata. Afterwards, both Yoshino and Keko remained silent, as they watched Ino and Tenten attempt to come to grips with what they had just learned. It was Tenten who finally broke the bleak silence that had enveloped the room, when she softly asked.
"So you don't know how Hinata is doing right now?"
"No my dear, we don't. That's why we're waiting here. I left word that I wanted to be informed of what was going on with Hinata as soon as possible." Yoshino declared in earnest.
"How did you manage to pull that off godmother, you're not Hinata's immediate family."
"Ino my dear, being the matriarch of one of the most powerful and also a founding member clan of the village does come with certain perks shall we say." Yoshino replied with a sly grin on her face.
"Not to mention your infamous reputation as someone not to piss off doesn't hurt either." Keko quipped in amusement to help lighten the disheartening mood everyone had been feeling.
"That to certainly helps." Yoshino acknowledged in cheerful agreement.
At that moment, Shizune entered the waiting room and everyone jumped to the feet in anticipation, as she announced.
"Yoshino-san you can go up and visit Temari-san in a few minutes. We'll be bringing your grandchildren to her shortly."
"Thank you Shizune-san, but what's happening with Hinata-san?"
Shizune hesitated a moment, as an apprehensive look spread across her face, before she said.
"Hinata has gone into premature labor and right now Lady Tsunade is doing everything she can to successfully deliver the baby."
Shizune then attempted to leave, before Ino caught her arm and turned her around and asked in a pleading voice.
"There's more to it than just that, please Shizune-san, tell us the truth, what's going on,...please."
Shizune gazed at Ino's face and could see her tears brimming around her light blue eyes out of fear and concern for her friend. Exhaling a deep breath, she revealed in a solemn tone of voice.
"As I said, Hinata has gone into premature labor, which while not an issue to dismiss, and under normal circumstances and with Hinata already so far along in her pregnancy there would be very little risk to either her or the baby."
"You said under normal circumstances." Keko openly quoted.
"Hai, I did, but unfortunately this isn't a normal circumstance, as Hinata's baby has gone into a...breech birth."
"Breech birth, what is that?" Ino cried out in panicked frustration, as the term sounded ominous to her.
"A Breech birth is a birth of a baby with the buttocks or feet, rather than the head, emerging first." Shizune explained.
"Is Hinata and the baby going to be alright?" Tenten fearfully questioned.
"I believe so, but I don't know for sure. A breech birth is more likely to cause injury to the mother or the infant than a head-first birth. However, in many cases a baby in the breech position can be turned before delivery by using a repeated, gentle massage."
"Which is what Lady Tsunade is doing...yes?"
"She's going to Yoshino-san, but another complication has presented that milady must address first, before she can attempt to turn the baby around."
"It's a Nuchal cord Keko-san, now really I must go and help milady." Shizune sternly announced, before she turned and hurriedly left the room.
Ino turned to her mother and with tears starting to stream down her face she asked in a choked voice.
"M-Mom, I know you had to go to medical school to become a psychiatrist. What is an Nuchal cord complication and what does it mean for Hinata and her baby?"
Keko dropped her head for a moment and exhaled a somber breath and then looked up directly at her daughter and said.
"I won't lie to you princess, a Nuchal cord complication is a serious complication. It's occurs when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the fetal neck 360 degrees. And while there is little danger to Hinata because of it. There is a genuine danger to the baby that it might be severely injured during the birth unless it has been taken care of first."
"Could, could Hinata lose the baby?" Tenten apprehensively asked, with dread etched in her voice.
Keko paused a moment, before she declared in disheartened tone.
"Yes, she could possibly lose the baby."
As Sasuke lay on his back staring up to the sky, he finally recognized what was happening, he was dying. He couldn't turn his head to see Naruto standing a few feet away, but he knew he was there. Even worse, Sasuke knew that the dobe was looking down upon him with pity and that thought alone filled him with disgust. He was an Uchiha damn it, one of the most noble clans and people to ever walk upon this wretched world. They were not ones to be gazed upon with pity, but looked upon by others in fear and awe by people. Knowing in their hearts they were nothing but inferior beings when in the presence of an Uchiha, as he thought to himself.
'It can't end like this, not this way, killed by Naruto is a nightmare I've can't even contemplate. I can't die, I still have so much to do, I haven't gotten my revenge on Itachi, I haven't killed Naruto, I haven't seen Konoha burn to the ground. And most of all, I haven't been able to restore my noble clan to it's rightful place, as the elite above all other men. Oh please Kami, you can't be so cruel and unfair as to deny me these things before I die. No, I refuse to die on this day! It is not going to happen, I swear it upon the Uchiha name! I will not die, No...No...No!' Sasuke silently screamed within his mind.
Suddenly there was a massive explosion of purplish black colored chakra, which erupted from Sasuke's body so powerful that it sent Naruto flying through the air, before he landed with a sickening thud onto his back several yards away. Naruto attempted to bring his hand up to his chest where one of those hellish chakra tendrils that had exploded out of Sasuke's body had struck the blonde Jinchuuriki. However, Naruto found he couldn't move his arm or any other part of his body. In a desperate tone, he called out to Kurama within his mind.
'Kurama, what's going on? I can't move, do something!'
'Damn it Kit I'm trying! But that tendril of demonic chakra hurt me as well. The reason you can't move is because when it hit you, it fried not only your nervous system, by also your chakra pathway system. I'm trying to get everything fixed, but when that tendril hit, it was like getting zapped by a really amped up lightening bolt. And because it was composed of demonic chakra, it wounded me as well. I'll do my best to get you back on your feet, but it's going to take a few minutes.'
'I'm not sure we got a few minutes.' Naruto uttered in palpable concern, as he barely managed to turn his head to the side and what he saw nearly made him sick to his stomach, as he watched Sasuke's entire body convulse in a grotesque manner on the ground.
Naruto was the first person to see Sasuke transform into his cursed-seal two form from their fight at the Valley of the End several years ago. However, though he had witnessed it before, he was still shocked at the physical changes now occurring in his former classmate's appearance.
Naruto watched with revulsion, as Sasuke's white skin seemed to peel away from his body, before the new skin which replaced it, turned an ugly dark-gray color and his hair grew out in length and became a sickly dark blue. The whites of his eyes also turned dark gray, which surrounded his obsidian pupils and Sasuke's face now bore a dark, star-shaped mark appearing across the bridge of his nose. However, the most monstrous appearance on the Uchiha was the grotesque webbed claw-shaped wings, which exploded out in a spray of blood from his back.
After Sasuke's gruesome transformation was completed, he paused a moment to pull Naruto's bladed-Sai out of his chest and throw it to the side. Sasuke was moving quite sluggishly, but already the regenerative powers of his cursed-seal two state began to heal the death blow Naruto had inflicted upon him. So damaging had been the strike that nearly took Sasuke's life, that it would take a few minutes before he was completely healed and restored to his full strength. So now it was a race in time, as to which combatant would be restored first.
After a few minutes and much to Naruto's alarm, it was the Uchiha who rose first and lifted his head skyward and unleashed a powerful demonic roar to the heavens so loud it reverberated throughout the countryside and actually caused a momentary pause in battle of some of the shinobi within Hiezu village who had heard it. Sasuke then glared across the field at Naruto prone body with bloodthirsty intent, as he was infuriated beyond any reason at nearly losing his life to his former friend. Reaching down to retrieve his Kusanagi blade, Sasuke then began his slow inexorable march towards Naruto and return the favor of killing him, as he had almost done to the Uchiha.
Naruto saw Sasuke start moving towards him in a slow deliberate manner and he asked Kurama within his mind.
'Time's up Kurama, the teme is back on his feet and heading this way, any luck getting me back on my feet to face him?'
'I'm, I'm sorry Kit, I think I'm close, but I still need a little more time.' Kurama answered with sincere and genuine regret laced in his voice.
'Well keep trying, maybe Kami will bless us is some way.'
'Kami... hah! That old fool only cares about one thing and that's himself. If you're expecting some miracle from him, you're going to be waiting a long time.' Kurama spat with derision, as he resumed mending Naruto's injuries.
Ignoring Kurama's opinion of Kami, Naruto silently called out to the deity.
'Please Kami, it can't end like this, not this way, killed by Sasuke is a horror I've can't even imagine. I can't die, I still have so much to do, I haven't gotten to see or hold my first kid, I haven't gotten to spend my life with Hinata-chan, I haven't become Hokage. And most of all I need to be here to protect all of my precious people. Oh please Kami, you can't be so cruel and unfair as to deny me these things before I die!'
Naruto then tried with all of his might to will his body to move, but alas it was to no avail. His body still refused to move even an inch. Naruto closed his eyes, as a tear rolled down his cheek and he softly said in despair.
"I'm so sorry Hina-hime, I know I promised you that I wouldn't let the teme kill me, but I'm afraid that might be a promise I can't keep. Pl-please forgive me."
Author Note: Early Merry Christmas everyone! That was quite the chapter wasn't it. Now I know I didn't resolve all of the cliffhangers from the previous chapter, but give me credit, as I did resolve two of them (Kiba, Moegi). Granted I did add a few new cliffhangers into the story, (Lee, Naruto's baby, Naruto himself) with this chapter. But honestly did you really expect me to leave you without cliffhangers to dwell upon, as to what I might do, knowing my devious mind., lol. Also, I still haven't decided if I going to kill off a good guy yet. I suppose if I kill off Naruto, I guess I'll have to turn this story into a Sasuke centric work. That's both an interesting and disturbing possibility.
I know I mentioned in the last chapter how difficult it is to write a chapter focusing on one individual fight, one intense war battle, one major surgery, and so many characters involved in all of it. However, that seems like a cake walk after writing the weapons battle between Naruto and Sasuke. It was by far the most strenuous scenes to write, As I wanted to write those scenes in a way that the readers can picture the fight in their minds as their reading it. As for the rest of the chapter, I wanted to focus on the important events happening not only in Hiezu village, but in Konoha as well. As both Shikamaru and Naruto's lives will change drastically this day. In case you're wondering, this chapter was around 18,850 in word count. Overall, I'm pleased with how the chapter turned out, but once again it was very time consuming.
As for Naruto's weapon, if you're not familiar with the Sai weapon. I recommend just using Wikipedia to check it out It gives an excellent description and has a couple of good photos of the weapon as well. However, if you remember what the Hiraishin kunai looks like from the Naruto universe. Just picture that with a longer center blade that will run about the length of the users forearm.
Anyway, I hope everybody enjoyed the chapter and I'm anxious to see what your reviews will be for it. I had a really low turnout for reviews on the last chapter, so it was difficult to gauge if people liked it or not. Although I will say of the ones I did get most readers seemed to have enjoyed it. However, I still wish to thank everyone both old and new readers who did take the time to review my last chapter. I enjoy reading many of your reviews, so please leave lots of them, as they do help a writer get a sense of the thoughts and opinions of the fans of a story. They also can help lift the spirits of an author as well. Also, to any readers who are staff members to any C2 communities, please feel free to add my story to your community if you feel it is worthy of it. I won't mind, I swear. I'll even pinkie swear if I need to?
Also, please check out the rest of my Author Note, as there is a question I ask that I need votes on to win or lose a bet depending upon how the votes turn out. Thank you. :)
In this chapter, I have two very subtle homage's from a couple of movies. However, I'm not going to make it easy for you to guess these. If you can pick out the scenes and name the movie they are based from you are truly a movie aficionado. The only hints I will give you is one scene is from a Quentin Taratino film and the other is from a Chuck Norris film. Good luck, and if you guess correctly, have yourself an entire cyber-pizza and a keg of cyber-beer on me.
I asked this question last chapter, but got very few votes from people. So I really need a lot more votes this time around before a winner can be declared. Here's the question.
I recently got into a friendly debate with a buddy of mine about the existence of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, whatever you want to call it. So we made a wager and your votes will decide the winner. And to keep it fair, I won't tell you which side of the argument I'm on. So if you would at the end of your review, please give me a "Hell Yeah!" if you believe the hairy skunk-ape exists or a "Hell No!" if you think he doesn't. Thanks! :)
Now, for a reader favorite for many of you, Kingkakashi's rants yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! My rants as stated last chapter will focus on the ten issue Gaiden, which came out after the end of the Naruto manga and is titled.
NARUTO GAIDEN: The Seventh Hokage And The Scarlet Shining Moon
Chapter Three: Chance Meeting: Part 1
This chapter starts off with Naruto leaving the village to go meet up with Sasuke. Before he leaves, he asks Shikamaru to apologize to Boruto when he arrives, but he doesn't say what the apology is for. Sarada and Chouchou are hiding in the woods outside the village gate. They see Naruto leave and Sarada wants to follow him, but Chouchou is resistant, as she still believes Sarada is there to help her find her real parents.
Next is Boruto arriving at the gate with Mizuki and Shikamaru informs him that he's just missed his father. Shikamaru notices Boruto is carrying something and asks what it is and finds out that it's a lunch prepared by Hinata for Naruto. He deduces that's what Naruto meant by asking him to apologize for. Boruto is pretty pissed that his father took off and turns on his heels to leave, even though he could probably catch up to Naruto if he tried. Sarada sees this as an opportunity to give her a reason as to why she is following Naruto and rushes over to Boruto to offer to deliver the lunch for him.
Boruto declines, but Sarada refuses to take no for an answer. It soon becomes a battle of wills as neither Boruto or Sarada want to give in. Eventually Boruto relents, because he knows his mother made and wanted Naruto to have this lunch. So Sarada and Chouchou take off after Naruto with the lunch in hand. Meanwhile, Sarada and Chouchou don't realize that the albino boy who Sasuke fought with is watching them. He gets orders from his master to capture Sarada. Meanwhile, Naruto has already sensed that the two young kunoichi are following him and decides to wait for them to arrive.
However, before Sarada and Chouchou can reach Naruto, the albino kid wearing the Uchiha clan crest on his back and possessing the Sharingan attacks them. After a brief battle, in which this kid totally outclasses them. The albino boy is about to kill Chouchou when Naruto arrives in the nick of time to save her and this is where the chapter ends.
Overall, the chapter is not only short in content, but what little there is extremely boring. The only highlight of it is the very brief fight at the end where Sarada and Chouchou got their collective butt's kicked. In fact, the majority of this chapter really only revolved around the whole pointless "Lunch" issue. I know I had hoped that this chapter would be better than chapter two, but now I'm just praying that chapter four will be a whole lot better than this one. Because I can't even imagine how it could be much worse.
Definition: Not able to be persuaded, moved, or stopped: Relentless.
Etymology: New Latin 1542-1555a.d.
Part of Speech: Adjective