The silence was deafening. Shizune held her breath, unsure what to do.
"Guard her." Naruto ordered quietly.
With stunned looks, Genma, Ibiki, and Shizune watched as Kakashi leapt in front of the trembling Temari. He growled low and menacing, baring his teeth at Tsunade.
Tsunade laughed unexpectedly, seeming to forget Temari for a moment. "What an adorable dog!"
Naruto gestured from behind Tsunade's view, indicating that Temari should leave the room as stealthily as, well …a ninja. She shook her head at him and flicked her gaze over to Shikamaru. He frowned and shook his head 'no'.
Temari then shook her head in return. It was obvious she didn't want to leave without Shikamaru. And since neither Tsunade nor Naruto were actually her leader, she didn't have any qualms about saying no. Sakura scowled at Temari and pointed at the open doorway, clearly annoyed by the disobedience.
Kakashi yipped and licked Tsunade's hand as she offered it to him to sniff. Shizune shook her head in disbelief as she watched the copy ninja beg to be petted.
Ibiki walked very, very slowly over toward Temari. His eyes never left Tsunade as he approached the blonde kunoichi. As he neared though, he finally looked at her and stared. Temari didn't last long in the staring contest with the head of the ANBU Torture Division. Within a minute she was shaking like a leaf and sweat was beading on her forehead.
Finally, she broke the gaze and with desperation looked over at Shizune. Feeling bad for the girl and knowing how it would hurt her, Shizune flicked her head toward the open door as well. She wanted to explain to the young kunoichi that they had a better chance of keeping Shikamaru safe here than if he tried to leave with anyone other than Tsunade at this point. But she had no way of communicating without breaking the silence, and possibly Kakashi's weird calming influence on the Fifth Hokage.
With downcast eyes, Temari glanced over at Shikamaru who winced as he nodded, adding to the consensus. Her eyes spoke volumes as she stepped back toward the door, finally taking her leave. Unfortunately, while her final message to Shikamaru had been completely silent, Tsunade heard it loud and clear.
The Fifth Hokage clocked Kakashi across the head to knock him out of the way in order to leap towards Temari, who gave a startled squeak. Ibiki grabbed Temari's right arm and tried to pull her out of the way, unfortunately Shikamaru did the same thing on the left side. For a moment, Temari was yanked in two different directions, leaving her right where she had been standing all along.
"Bitch!" Growled Tsunade as she landing right in front of the terrified girl, pulling back her fist to attack.
Luckily Kakahsi had dodged in time to save himself from permanent brain damage, only falling stunned instead of dead from Tsunade's horrendous strength. He revived in time to pounce on his Hokage and deflect the blow to the wall behind the three stunned people.
With a muttered oath, Genma flew from the ceiling where he'd been perched and broke out the side window closest to the three. In an almost choreographed move, Ibiki yanked on Temari's arm, pushing her through the window.
"Run!" He told her sternly. "This is a fight you have no chance to win!"
As she fell through the window, Shizune ran over to watch them land. Them? Shit! Shikamaru had not let go of Temari's arm and weakened as he was, had not been able to withstand Ibiki's strength. Temari landed gracefully on her feet, Shikamaru landed in a heap. On top of her.
Shizune stifled a horrified laugh, biting her lip as she watched the two try and untangle themselves.
"Dan?" Whimpered Tsunade.
Shizune turned her head to see Tsunade beside her, also looking down at the departing couple. She looked so sad Shizune wanted to weep. Then she saw that the Hokage had Kakashi by the throat and the notorious copy ninja was helpless. Horrified, she watched as Tsunade threw him carelessly against the wall with a hard 'thud' and leapt after Temari and Shikamaru.
"Tsunade-sama! Wait, that isn't Dan!" Horrifed, she watching Tsunade land on her feet, cracking the ground and causing the earth to tremble slightly.
"Genma, go after them." Ordered Naruto.
His order was ignored as Shizune prepared to follow her sensai out the window. She was stopped by a hand grabbing the back of her kimono. The material ripped slightly as Shizune was pulled back roughly. From where she landed on her back she looked up, stunned, into the eyes of an angry Sakura.
"Not you. The Hokage ordered Genma to go after them."
"But …" Sakura placed her foot on Shizune's chest to keep her down. At that, the elder kunoichi's eyes narrowed and she prepared to attack. Her arm moved, only to be held up sharply as a strong hand wrapped around her wrist.
With betrayal in her eyes, she stared into Ibiki's dark gaze. "Forgive me, Shizune. But time is essential here, we don't have time to fight those here and still save the young couple. Genma, go after them."
The shinobi in question was not slow on the uptake, nodded and leapt away in a flash of color.
"Why?" Whispered Shizune. Looking up into Ibiki's strong features, she felt so small. Flat on her back and held down by a student no less. How awful!
But it wasn't Ibiki who answered. "Because I need you here to find an antidote for this drug, with Tsunade …disabled, you are our best hope. I couldn't send Ibiki, I need him."
Sakura nodded emphatically to Naruto's words, lifting her foot and reaching down to offer Shizune a hand. Dazed, the medic sat up. She turned wide eyes to Ibiki, who shrugged. "He actually is making sense."
"Is Kakashi alright, Sakura?" Naruto asked, heading for the large map of the village and it's surrounding areas. "We'll need him to sniff out if there are any more drugged scroll-letters in the vicinity. We don't know that this attack was isolated to my office."
Ibiki's jaw dropped. He hadn't thought of that. Not only was Naruto making sense, he was actually leading. "I always said he was an interesting one," he whispered in Shizune's ear.
Pulling back from the strange sinking sensation his breath made as it tickled her ear, Shizune could only nod. She was slightly ashamed to have to be told by a child what she should be focusing on, especially since he was right.
"Kakashi's fine now." Sakura reported to Naruto who was looking over guard reports for the last two weeks. She stood up from where she'd been healing their 'canine' teammate.
Ibiki eyed Kakashi with puzzlement. "Why didn't he try any jutsus against the Hok …" he glanced at Naruto and quickly changed the word, "against Tsunade-sama instead of raw strength? No wonder he didn't have a chance."
Shizune shrugged, stood. Her ripped kimono sagged in the back, making her stumble slightly. Ibiki caught her to him and steadied her. She got a good whiff of his masculine scent before pushing away with a slight blush. He'd never acted anything more than professional with her, coldly professional at that. She didn't want him to think her weak or in need of support.
"He thinks he's a dog. Dog's don't perform jutsu." She managed to answer. "It's only a guess though, I don't really know."
Why did she feel the need to degrade her own statement, make little of herself? Ibiki had noticed she never did that in front of Tsunade or the other ANBU leaders. "It's a good guess." He told her simply.
"I'll get started on trying to find an antidote." She told him.
"Ibiki, stay with her."
They both protested the order from the diminutive dillusional-Hokage. "Neht." He told them sternly. "Call the ANBU for me. Alert the guard posts. Our enemies will be close enough to sense the activation of the letter-scroll, that limits the range. Have them search. But. You. Will. Guard. Shizune."
"Why? I don't need a guard." Shizune told him, raising to her full height and looking down her nose at the young man.
Ibiki fought the desire to be in on the planning, and to take advantage and stay close to Shizune. Duty won. "My place is in securing this village and it's peoples."
"Your place is to do as ordered."
"It was too good to last, he's losing himself in the hallucination." Ibiki nodded at Shizune. They'd have to take him down and lock him and the others up for their own protection.
"Whoever this enemy is, they aren't stupid." Naruto turned his back, unsuspecting. After all, he was their Hokage.
Ibiki prepared to make his move, Shizune stepped back, allowing him the space. She swept her kimono sleeve back, revealing some of her many weapons. She nodded toward Kakashi and Sakura, telling him she had his back. He smiled. She fought the urge to smile back.
Oblivious, Naruto continued. "They'll know we'll try to find an antidote. The most dangerous mission here will be that undertaking. They'll try to get you and stop you, Shizune, from finding that antidote. Ibiki, you're the only one I trust with this. If you fail, we may have lost Tsunade. If she continues this hallucinogenic marauding, who knows what damage she might cause. And if this madness spreads somehow, who knows what could happen?"
Ibiki was directly behind Naruto, ready to knock the young man out before Sakura or Kakashi could blink. As the young man's words sunk in, however, it was he who blinked. And blinked hard.
"Fuck me blind. He's right."
Shizune, shaking, nodded her agreement. Who knew Naruto had it in him. She'd always respected his loyalty and strength ever since that fight with Kabuto. But now she saw that he might have the potential to actually lead one day.
"Come Shizune, gather what you need. This needs to be over NOW." Ibiki stepped away from Naruto, motioning for her to hurry.
Imperious as always, she grumbled to herself. Why did Ibiki always sound so harsh when talking to her? He wasn't that way with Tsunade.
"Yah, yah. I know it's urgent." She waved at him as she moved to get samples of the drug.
"More urgent than you know." Ibiki's voice sounded ...odd.
"What does that mean, Ibiki?" She stood, saw he was looking over to her left. Turning her head her eyes widened in utter shock.
"Now that's something I wish I'd never seen." He told her. She nodded, unable to speak.
Kakashi sat on one side of the room trying hard to lick his own balls.