Disclaimer: No one else on this website owns Naruto, so why should I be any different?
A/N: Props as always to beta buddy and fellow het!Iruka fan singeivoire for the help on getting this fic out. Seriously folks, there needs to be more love for this pairing. They're adorable!
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry—" Naruto babbled as he half dragged, half carried Iruka up the walk toward the Konoha Hospital Emergency Room entrance.
"Naruto, I'm fine, there's no need to go to the hospital—ugh!" Iruka's protest ended in a gasp of pain, and he doubled over, sweat dripping down his nose and running along the scar bisecting his face.
Naruto slung one of Iruka's arms over his shoulders, and Iruka was again dimly surprised by how tall he'd gotten in his training with the Toad Sage. Naruto started to lean down as if to grab his legs, and Iruka stood up straight despite the feeling that a kunai was twisting his guts into mincemeat. There was absolutely no way that he'd let anyone—let alone a former student—carry him anywhere.
"I'll walk in," he said through gritted teeth. Naruto looked worried, but he didn't try to pick up his former teacher again as they limped through the hospital double doors. The ER was surprisingly calm for a ninja village—only a few pale, wincing shinobi lined the row of plastic chairs in the waiting room, plus one civilian flipping through a magazine. Then Iruka spotted the last two people he wanted to see: Kotetsu and Izumo sat on either side of a sullen-looking man in a prison jumpsuit. A bloody bandage was wrapped around what looked like a screwdriver imbedded in the man's thigh. The two chuunin glanced up as Iruka hobbled in and both sets of eyebrows skyrocketed with interest.
"Oi, where're the doctors?" Naruto bellowed as soon as they cleared the doors. "Sakura-chaaaaan! Tsunade-baachaaan!"
Iruka closed his fist around Naruto's jacket, intent upon pummeling him into silence, but another stab of white-hot pain in his abdomen erased the thought, and for a moment it was all he could do not to retch on the polished hospital floor.
"Iruka-sensei!" Naruto guided him toward one of the plastic chairs and bolted toward the front of the room where a familiar dark-haired kunoichi was just entering from the main part of the hospital. Iruka saw Naruto gesturing wildly back at his former Academy teacher, and the woman in the purple kimono followed.
"I'm fine, really, Shizune-san," Iruka said with an attempt at a smile as the Hokage's assistant leaned over him, a concerned frown twisting her mouth.
"I didn't mean to hit him so hard, neechan," Naruto said in an apologetic tone, wringing his hands. Behind him, Iruka heard Kotetsu and Izumo snigger like a pair of schoolboys.
"Why don't I take you to an examining room, Iruka-san," Shizune said with a small smile. "You can tell me what happened there."
Iruka couldn't help the groan that slipped from his mouth as he sat on the examining table. The pain wasn't any worse—he didn't know if it could get any worse—but it was agony just to move.
"Okay, what happened?" Shizune asked, eyeing Naruto suspiciously.
"We were just sparring," Naruto said, with a guilty shuffle of his feet. "I got under Iruka-sensei's guard and made a jab at his stomach. I didn't think I hit him that hard, but he fell over, sort of yelling and crying and—"
"I wasn't crying!" Iruka protested, feeling heat creep across his face. "Naruto didn't hit me very hard, but I… well, I haven't been feeling very good this week, so I guess my stomach was a little sensitive."
Shizune's dark brows drew together. "Hmm. No ninjutsu or genjutsu in the match? Just taijutsu?"
Iruka and Naruto nodded.
"Okay. Off with the vest then. Let's see what's going on."
Iruka shrugged out of his flak vest and lay back on the examining table, the cool plastic somewhat soothing to his heated skin.
"Where does it hurt?"
"Here." Iruka pulled up his dark blue shirt and held a hand gingerly over his lower abdomen, under and to the right of his belly button.
"Hmm." Shizune began prodding his stomach with slender fingers, working her way down until Iruka had to bite his lip to keep from yelling. Her fingers seemed gentle until they reached one spot and then suddenly it was as if a thousand shuriken were embedded in his stomach.
"I don't think you should do that, neechan," Naruto said uneasily.
"Why not?" Shizune looked up.
"Cause he looks like he's about to puke all over you."
"Am... not," Iruka managed to gasp, scowling.
"This could be serious," Shizune said with a frown. She turned and began rummaging through drawers, eventually coming up a scroll, several pieces of sealing paper, and a bottle of ink.
"Naruto-kun, this procedure is going to take some room," Shizune said, setting her load down on the counter. "Could you wait outside?"
"Sure, neechan. You'll fix him up, right?" Naruto seemed close to wringing his hands again.
"That's a promise," she smiled, and slid the door shut behind him.
"He sure cares about you," she said with laughter in her eyes as she looked over at Iruka.
Iruka rubbed the side of his finger against the scar on his nose; an old habit. "He's developed a bit of a mother hen attitude, to be honest. After this he'll be worse. It's bad enough that he already thinks I can't take a hit."
Shizune chuckled, and started digging through drawers again, finally emerging with a writing brush. It was then Iruka noticed that she wasn't wearing her typical everyday kimono, but a nice one with tiny white flowers embroidered on it and... Shizune looked up, caught him staring at her, and blushed.
"You're wearing makeup," he blurted in surprise.
Shizune's blush deepened, and she busied herself with unscrewing the cap on the bottle of ink before she replied. "If you must know, it's my birthday today. Sakura-chan, Kurenai-chan, and Anko-san are throwing a surprise party for me tonight."
"How is it a surprise party if you already know about it?" Iruka watched as Shizune dipped the brush in the ink and began writing a series of complicated medical seals on each of the paper tags.
Shizune grinned. "Oh they've tried to keep it secret, but honestly, it's like they're not even ninja when they plan a party. But I'll let them think they've succeeded... I just wanted to look nice for it tonight." She waved a few of the tags so the glossy black ink would dry faster and began plastering them on the four corners of the examining table.
"You shouldn't be working on your birthday," Iruka frowned. He knew from working in the mission assignments office that Tsunade overworked the brown-haired kunoichi, but he'd never heard her complain once.
Shizune shrugged, adjusting one of the tags so it lay flat. "I was going to leave early today, but then you walked in."
Iruka grimaced. "Guess that makes me a jerk."
Shizune chuckled. "Nah, just your appendix."
"Yep. I'm pretty sure that's what your problem is, but this jutsu will confirm it and should tell me whether you need surgery or not. Hopefully it'll be just an infection that antibiotics and a couple of rounds of medical ninjutsu will clear up. Okay, shirt and pants off."
Shizune gestured with her brush impatiently. "I need a clear line of skin to make the rest of the seal. It doesn't work on clothing."
Iruka sat up slowly to avoid bending his stomach more than necessary, and considered the situation. Ninja had been on teams of three with one almost always being female (the infamous Inoichi-Shikaku-Chouza trio had been one of the few exceptions) for generations. Even Iruka's genin team had started out with a girl—until she'd been killed on their first B-ranked mission. The unspoken lesson teammates learned were that kunoichi were ninja, not females really, and if a mission called for situations where they would have to sleep in close proximity or even change clothing together, then it would be done quickly and efficiently with no lapsing into the traditional roles of modesty.
But Iruka hadn't been part of a three-man squad since before he became an Academy teacher, and if he was perfectly honest with himself, he couldn't dismiss Shizune as just another kunoichi...
He pulled his shirt off, kicked off his sandals, and then hesitated, not looking at the medical kunoichi.
Shizune rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'll start with your torso, but after that you'll take your pants off or I'll do it for you."
Iruka tried not to squirm as the cold, tickly brush worked quickly over his chest, writing squiggles in black ink.
"Okay, now your pants."
Shizune got a glint in her eye that reminded Iruka of the Hokage.
"I won't ask again, Iruka-san. Take off your pants!"
To Iruka's astonishment, she grabbed hold of the extra fabric around his calves and yanked. Iruka held tight to his belt loops, but Shizune just gritted her teeth and pulled harder.
"Give me your pants!" she shouted, accenting each word with an even stronger jerk than before.
"No! You can't have them!" Iruka grunted, but then Shizune gave an almighty tug and with a startled yelp, Iruka flew right off the examining table straight at her.
"Ow, my head…"
Iruka opened his eyes and immediately felt scarlet heat rush to the roots of his hair. He'd managed to throw out his arms to avoid crushing Shizune and—more importantly—his still throbbing stomach. But he was also right on top of her; so close that he could count the freckles adorning her nose.
He had time for no more than a gurgled sound in his throat when the door to the room slid open.
"I thought I heard shouting—OH!" Sakura's mouth dropped open as she took in Iruka and Shizune's position on the floor. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt—"
"No, it's n-not what it looks like, Sakura-chan!" Shizune said, her face as red as Sakura's shirt. "I j-just need his pants, that all."
Sakura stared and then started to giggle. "Honestly, senpai, I know it's your birthday, but couldn't you get a nicer place than the hospital?" While Iruka and Shizune struggled to right themselves (made slower by the stabbing pain in Iruka's stomach) and protest at the same time, Sakura looked down the hall toward something they couldn't see. "Ton-Ton! I found her. She's fine. In fact, more than fine, I should say. Ha!"
The small pink pig stuck her nose around the door with an inquisitive "Oink?" and seemed to take in the scene very quickly.
Iruka hadn't been aware that pigs could glare, but the jealous malevolence he saw in the small nin-pig's eyes was enough to make him gulp.
"Ton-Ton, no," Shizune gasped, "he's not doing anything—"
Pain exploded across his abdomen as the little pig made contact and blackness flickered in the corners of his eyes. Before he passed out, Iruka thought it was just as well, for he probably really would have started crying if he remained conscious.
The next thing he was aware of was the distant hum of an air conditioner. Iruka opened his eyes to find a worried, whiskered face peering at him.
"Iruka-sensei!" the face bawled happily. "You're awake!"
"What..." his voice was raspy, his tongue felt as dry as a chalkboard eraser. "Water?" he managed this time. Naruto disappeared from his line of sight for a moment while Iruka took stock of himself. He was in a hospital room but not the examining room from before, and he was in bed, wearing a standard floral-patterned hospital gown. Feeling more awake, he attempted to sit up and to his surprise only felt the mildest of twinges from his abdomen. Naruto reentered that moment with a cup of cold water, which Iruka gulped until his tongue no longer felt like the cardboard kunai that very young children sometimes played with.
"What happened?" he said lowering the cup at last.
"Heh, well, I'm not sure of the details," Naruto said with a sheepish grin, rubbing the back of his neck, "After Shizune kicked me out, I went to Ichiraku and when I got back, they told me that Ton-Ton ruptured your appendix, or something like that." Naruto shrugged. "You were in surgery when I got back."
"Surgery!" Iruka looked down the gaping neck of his hospital gown. Sure enough, a small gauze bandage was resting next to his hip on his lower stomach. And furthermore…
"Damn it! She got my pants!"
Naruto's jaw dropped. "Whaaaat?"
Iruka gulped, feeling heat creep up his neck. "Um, Shizune-san and I were, uh… having a…"
Naruto suddenly got a sly look across his face. "Say no more, Iruka-sensei. I've heard all about it."
"No, no! It's not like that! She took my pants! I tried to stop her, but she's a lot stronger than she looks, and she grabbed—"
"Iruka-sensei, I'm a minor! Shouldn't you be telling this to Pervy Sage or something? I'd bet he'd love a story like this—he'd call it research."
Iruka sunk back into his pillow and covered his face with his hands. "Never mind."