Title: A Delicate Condition
Author: Shawny Wong
Theme: #28 Wada Calcium CD3
Disclaimer: The characters of Naruto belong to Kishimoto Masashi. This story is written without permission, for fan purposes only. Do not reproduce without permission.
Summary: A mistake at the hospital's pharmacy causes trouble for many kunoichi in Konoha – and Hinata finds herself in a delicate condition. Written for Thirty Kisses on Live Journal. NaruHina. Minor pairings: SasuSaku, NejiTen, ShikaIno.
Rei Tanaka hated her job at the Konoha Hospital.
The 22 year-old assistant nurse scowled, marring her pretty face, as she worked her shift in the storage room behind the Konoha Hospital Pharmacy. She labeled and sorted the large containers of various medicines and drugs almost viciously. Afterwards, she needed to measure out the correct number of dosages, transfer the pills into small individually labeled bottles, and place them on rolling carts. Another assistant nurse or pharmacist would move them into the pharmacy later. It was such a waste of her time and talents!
She was being put to work like a common grunt! Five years ago, when she had decided on a career change, she had not envisioned this! Working long hours and dealing with cranky children, taking temperatures and blood pressures, and giving shots; not to mention, making beds and cleaning bedpans! Her nose wrinkled in disgust. And now she was forced to do menial tasks. The job was nowhere near as glamorous as she had imagined. She was supposed to shine by saving the life of a handsome ninja and earning his eternal devotion. How was she supposed to do that back here?
The assistant nurse hated her direct supervisor, Head Nurse Shiori – for subjugating her to menial labor and never giving her an opportunity to shine. (Rei conveniently forgot about all the opportunities she had been given to advance; she had flubbed them all through carelessness or poor performance.) But she hated Sakura Haruno more.
Sakura was doing everything that Rei was supposed to be doing! Sakura was responsible for saving the lives of many people, including one Sasuke Uchiha. And now, they were dating! Not only that, but any time a handsome ninja their age was admitted into the hospital, Sakura oversaw their medical care personally, never giving Rei a chance to assist (or flirt) with any of them. Sakura was just hogging all the good-looking guys to herself! In the last year, Sasuke Uchiha, Neji Hyuuga, Shikamaru Nara, Kiba Inuzuka, and even that blond knockout Naruto Uzumaki had been admitted into the hospital for various reasons. A ninja career was not exactly a safe career. Even when Rei worked on the same floor as those particular patients, she never caught more than a glimpse of them!
It was so unfair!
(It never even crossed Rei's mind that the real reason Sakura took over their medical care was because they were Sakura's friends and she wanted to make sure that they received the best medical care the hospital had to offer.)
Rei fumed. If she had to work in the pharmacy, she should at least get to work in the Hokage's special pharmacy, the one with the important drugs – the one with the dangerous poisons, delicate antidotes, soldier pills, and rare medicinal plants. But that pharmacy was under the direct supervision of Shizune, the Hokage's assistant, and her handpicked team of medic-nin. Instead, her boss had shunted Rei off to the regular pharmacy, the one with the less-hazardous drugs and medicines – the one used mostly by civilians for treating things like the common cold!
Rei was important, too! She could do important work! She grit her teeth in frustration.
A knock at the door temporarily distracted her from her dark thoughts. Rei immediately felt her spirits lift. The orderly at the door wasn't a ninja, but he was cute! She licked her lips in anticipation.
Well, well, well. Things are looking up.
"Nurse Tanaka-san?" he asked looking at her nametag. "Head Nurse Shiori sent me down with these two boxes for you to dispense and label. We just received that extra shipment of drugs from the supplier. Sorry about the delay."
He set the boxes on the table and checked the clipboard in his hand. Then he double-checked the numbers on the side of each box.
"Okay. The box on the left has that new brand of calcium supplements, Wada Calcium CD3, that's supposed to be more effective than the one we already have in stock. The box on the right is the one containing…"
But Rei wasn't paying any attention to his words. She was just paying attention to the way his lips were moving. She slowly eyed him, up and down.
Mmm… Nice body, green eyes, dark hair, and kissable, kissable lips. Jackpot!
"… and Head Nurse Shiori said she wants this done ASAP. Do you have any questions?"
"Only one, Arata-kun," she purred after glancing at his nametag. Rei fluttered her eyes at him coquettishly. "Are you free tonight? We could go get some drinks and wind down after work. My treat."
"Oh! Um…" Arata chuckled nervously, belatedly noticing that she had closed the distance between them. "I'm sorry, Tanaka-san. I already have plans. But thank you for the offer."
"Are you sure? I'm sure we'd have a great time." Rei deliberately widened her eyes and feigned a pout. She knew from years of practiced flirting that she was coming on a bit too strong, but she didn't care. She was desperate for a distraction from her tedious job!
"I should go. I'll tell Head Nurse Shiori you've received her instructions then. Bye!"
Rei pouted for real as he almost ran away.
Hmph! He was no fun at all!
Rei grimaced. It was time to go back to work.
Now… are the calcium supplements in the box on the right or the box on the left?
If she called her boss to double check, Shiori would scold her. Again. In fact, Shiori might even issue her a written warning. (Shiori threatened to do so every time Rei made a teeny tiny mistake.) Too many of those would threaten her job.
Whatever. I'm sure he said that the Wada Calcium CD3 is in the box on the right – which makes the box on the left the…
She reached for the loose papers that the cute orderly had left on the table beside the boxes. She skimmed the documents.
… which makes the box on the left the… Monogestin – the oral contraceptive pills.
Rei Tanaka hated her job – with a passion. She yanked open one of the cabinets and took out over three dozen sterile, mini-bottles. She dropped them carelessly on the worktable – ignoring the ones that rolled off – and started labeling them: Monogestin, 300mg. Then she slashed open the big box on the left, and measured out the small white pills. She poured the pills into the pre-labeled bottles and sealed them.
This job sucks.
Three months later…
Tsunade hated her job as the Hokage.
Admit it. Her conscience whispered. You don't really hate being the Hokage. Tell the truth.
She sighed and amended her thoughts. Fine. She didn't hate her job as the Hokage. Being the Hokage had its perks. She loved watching over the village that her grandfather founded. She loved guiding it towards a more prosperous future. She loved working at the hospital and saving the lives of her ninja. Most of all, she loved the way it made her feel closer to her love, Dan, and her brother, Nawaki. By living their dream, she felt like a part of them would always be with her. But…
Damn all this paperwork!
Tsunade hated her paperwork – with a passion. It was the absolute worst part of being the Hokage – the never-ending, stream of paper that she always tried to foist off onto her loyal assistant, Shizune. Unfortunately for Tsunade, Shizune took her responsibilities as the Hokage's assistant much too seriously! No matter how often Tsunade put off doing her paperwork, Shizune always managed to bribe, threaten, or cajole her into doing it. Tsunade had been stuck behind her desk for hours. She eyed the tall stack of documents in her inbox suspiciously. Somehow the stack never seemed to shrink no matter how much she worked! Tsunade wished desperately for a paper shortage. Too bad Konoha was located in the middle of a forest! Paper was going to be very abundant, for a very long time.
Evil, evil paperwork! If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that Orochimaru invented it just to torture me. Bastard's certainly sadistic enough. I can't wait until Naruto's ready to take this job from me. Then I can retire and I'll never have to see another piece of paper – unless it's a lottery ticket – ever again!
She was already grooming the blonde as her successor. In fact, she had pulled him from his duties as ANBU captain last year so that he could lead a genin team. Strictly speaking, leading a genin team wasn't a prerequisite for becoming Hokage. But it was a tradition – and the village council loved traditions. Every single Hokage from her grandfather, the Shodaime, to herself had led a genin team before becoming the Hokage. She sighed again. In the last ten years, Naruto had come a long way from the loudmouthed brat that he'd been at the age of 12. He'd made amazing progress. He'd completed a record number of successful missions during his stint in ANBU and he was one of the best jounin team sensei she'd ever seen. His genin absolutely adored him. But… Naruto wasn't ready to be Hokage – not yet. Not yet, but soon, very soon.
For now, she would just have to suck it up and do the thrice damned paperwork!
Tsunade approved a request for a tract of empty land to be converted into farmland for crops. She approved a request for an additional fulltime teacher at the Academy. Then she reviewed a proposal from the village council to establish a permanent ninja liaison in the Fire Daimyo's court in the capitol city. However, the next document she pulled from the stack made her stop short.
It was a request for a leave of absence from active duty from one of her kunoichi. Her eyes flew down to the box explaining the reason for the request: Pregnancy.
The request by itself wasn't a cause for concern. (These things happened occasionally.) Except, the request wasn't by itself. Hadn't she just approved three other requests for a leave of absence due to pregnancy this morning? That made this one the fourth request. Not one to believe in coincidences, she quickly flipped through the stack of documents in her inbox, pulling out all requests for a leave of absence. There were 15 in all – 13 of which were due to pregnancy.
Tsunade knew all of these kunoichi. While she was not particularly close to any of them, she knew them to be capable, responsible ninja with high mission success rates.
What in the world was going on?
Hinata was so tired she almost skipped out on lunch with her girlfriends.
Every Thursday, as long as they were in the village and not out on a mission, Sakura, Ino, Hinata, and Tenten would have a late lunch at Emi's Bakery and Café. Hinata couldn't remember how this particular tradition started, but she was very grateful for it. It was through these lunches – and with the steady encouragement of her friends – that she finally found the courage to confess her love to Naruto two years ago.
At first, Naruto had been shocked speechless, but when he recovered from the shock, he was intrigued. (To Hinata's disappointment, he had not immediately reciprocated her feelings.) His genuine interest in her was much better than the rejection Hinata had been expecting. Naruto had readily agreed to go on a date with her. Two years later, they were still together. And…
Naruto-kun loves me!
Just thinking about it made her giddy. Hinata could hardly believe that she'd gained the affections of her childhood crush. She smiled as she thought of Naruto. He was currently away with his genin team on a C-ranked mission to Tea Country, but they were due back next week.
Hinata slid into their regular booth and slumped gratefully into the cushioned seat. It looked as if she was the first one to arrive. She closed her eyes and took deep meditative breaths to conserve her energy. She couldn't understand the source of her fatigue. In the last week, she had been so tired that she was forced to take a long nap each afternoon. Unfortunately, the naps only recharged her for a little while. She went to bed early, slept in late, and she was still exhausted! She wasn't doing anything unusual. Just some light training in the morning to keep her ninja skills sharp. Was she coming down with a cold? Maybe she should pick up some vitamins from the pharmacy after lunch to boost her immune system.
The bell over the door of the little café tinkled merrily. Hinata smiled. Sakura, Ino, and Tenten were here.
An hour later…
Sakura shifted uncomfortably in her chair. Her back was killing her! Tsunade had her poring over boxes and boxes of medical scrolls that had been donated to the Konoha Hospital by a small clan in ex-Rice country. (The clan had requested an A-ranked mission but didn't have the necessary funds, so they had worked out a trade. In lieu of a monetary payment, they would give Konoha all the medical scrolls in their possession.) However, the chairs in the Konoha Medical Library had to be the oldest, most rickety chairs in the Land of Fire! She had been hoping for a cheerful lunch with her friends to take her mind off of dusty medical scrolls. But…
Their girls' lunch had been unusually quiet. Hinata was half-asleep, barely paying attention to her surroundings. Tenten looked distracted and had trouble focusing on the conversation. And Ino… Ino was poking listlessly at a half-eaten salad. After Sasuke left to join Orochimaru, Ino finally started to take being a kunoichi seriously. She quit her silly low-calorie diet and ate like a normal healthy kunoichi. Besides, Ino hated salad.
"What is wrong with everyone today? Ino, you hate salad!"
"Don't you think I know that, Forehead?" Ino snapped. She sighed and shook her head. "Sorry, Sakura. My stomach's extra sensitive today. I can't seem to keep anything down. I think I have mild case of food poisoning. Chouji dragged Shikamaru and I to this hole-in-the-wall dump of a restaurant last night because they were having a buy one get one free dinner special."
"What about you Tenten?"
"Headache." Tenten said shortly, rubbing her temples. "I can't concentrate on anything because my head is pounding. Even my aim was off this morning when I was training at the target range."
Sakura's eyes widened.
"Wow. That must be some headache! I've never seen you miss a target – not even when you were wounded!"
Tenten's response was a low moan.
"I've already taken the strongest pain reliever I have at home, but it's not helping. I really thought the pain reliever would have kicked in by now."
"Hinata?" Sakura nudged the quiet girl sitting beside her. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Sakura," Hinata said. She smiled reassuringly. "I'm just tired – though I'm not sure why. I've been sleeping a lot more than usual, but I'm still wiped out."
Sakura laughed a bit without any real humor.
"We're all pretty pathetic today," she mused. "Hinata's fatigued. Tenten's got a monster headache. Ino's nauseous. And I've got this killer backache from researching medical scrolls all week."
"I feel pathetic today," Ino muttered as she finally pushed her salad away. "I'm getting sick just looking at food."
But Sakura didn't notice, as she was still thinking aloud. The medic in her was putting all the "symptoms" together and diagnosing the "patient." Except the only conclusion that she could come up with was just… ludicrous!
"You know… If all our symptoms occurred in one person, I'd say that she was definitely… pregnant."
"Get real, Sakura!" Ino laughed. "That's impossible!"
"I'm being serious, Ino. Those are all symptoms of early pregnancy: fatigue, headache, nausea, and lower backache. Pregnant women can experience any or all of those symptoms."
Tenten shook her head.
"Ino's right, Sakura," Tenten said. "We're all active kunoichi. The chances of one of us being pregnant are so small that it's negligible… Remember? Shinobi rule number 28? All active duty kunoichi are required to take contraceptives."
The ninja life was a dangerous one. Death came swiftly to the unlucky and the unprepared. But for a kunoichi, death was one of the kindest fates they faced. Each time a kunoichi went out on a mission, she did so knowing that if she were caught (by bandits or enemy ninja), rape and torture were very real possibilities. Even kunoichi without boyfriends or spouses took contraceptives. The probability of capture and rape was too high to ignore.
"I know! I know!" Sakura said. "We're all on birth control. I just thought that it was a funny coincidence."
Hinata suddenly felt sick. She had been so exhausted that the days just blurred together. She hadn't even noticed…
"What day is today?" she asked suddenly.
"It's the 27th. Why?"
"The 27th?" she echoed faintly. "Are you sure?"
She received three identical nods. She trembled. If today was the 27th, then…
"I'm… I'm two weeks late."
To be continued…
(1) Written for the Thirty Kisses challenge on Live Journal. (See my profile for more info on the Thirty Kisses challenge.)
(2) Wada Calcium CD3: http : / / www (dot) wadacal (dot) co (dot) jp / product / cd3 (dot) html
(3) Back when I first started this challenge, I just knew that theme #28 (Wada Calcium CD3) was going to stump me. For the life of me, I could not come up with any good ideas. What the heck does a calcium supplement have to do with romance and kisses? Absolutely nothing! In a previous Author's Note, I mentioned that I already had plans/outlines for almost all 30 themes. This was one of three themes for which I had nothing planned. I bounced around a few lame ideas for a hospital scene or maybe a prank or a gag gift with calcium supplements. Pretty terrible ideas! (sweatdrop) Then, this little plot bunny came to me. Finally! An idea for theme #28 that didn't suck! I had to write it down quickly before the plot bunny got away from me!
(4) For the purposes of the Thirty Kisses challenge, this fic is a two-part fic: prologue plus a NaruHina chapter. I have a few half-formed ideas floating around in my head for three more chapters, which would each focus on a couple (SasuSaku, ShikaIno, and NejiTen). But… I don't know… I've never written anything except NaruHina! I'm not sure I could write those other couples well or do them justice! Maybe I'll try it as an experiment… Maybe…
(5) My first semi-developed OC! Don't worry. You probably won't see Miss Rei Tanaka again – especially not after Tsunade gets through with her! I just needed someone ditzy to start this chain of events!
(6) EDIT 9/30/2008: I fixed a typo and changed the reference to Naruto's age in Tsunade's thoughts. FYI, the Rookie 9 are 22 years old in this fic.