When the Deer Run

Chapter 5

There's no Sense Crying

POV – Inoichi

Red, red, red, red...

I was walking down a BIG red corridor.

Red, red, red, red...

Me and Chouza were heading to the same office we were at earlier that morning.

The big man was walking a few steps behind me, not speaking.

I was pacing up the corridor just in front of my partner with my head bowed, not speaking.

We hadn't spoken since we came from the Nara clan grounds. Chouza went home briefly to make sure his wife kept our children there. Otherwise we went straight to the hospital. We were ordered to the Hokage's office almost before we even stepped through the door.

I don't think I have been this worried about anyone for a long time. Not only for Shikamaru (unconscious in one of the hospital's many rooms) but for Shikaku as well. What I saw was worrying me.

Before I knew it we were outside of the Hokage's door. Without hesitation we stepped through the door.

Tsunade was sat in her chair with her back to them, looking out the window. She didn't turn around or say anything when they entered. Shizune stood quietly in the corner holding her spoiled pig while both Jiraiya and Kakashi leaned against the opposite wall. The only acknowledgment we got as we entered the room was Kakashi turning his head to look at us slightly.

We stood there in silence for a while before the Hokage spoke up, never looking at us, from behind the desk.

"What happened?"

Neither of us answered at first. It was hard to put into words.

Getting up, she turned to look at us and try again.

"Why? Why are two of my best strategists in the hospital and under armed guard? And also who is the guard for, may I ask?"

Swallowing hard, I replied, "Shikaku and Shikamaru Nara are in the hospital because they are in need of medical attention. We requested ANBU guard be put around them because we have a feeling someone is going to attack Shikamaru and it may very well end up being his father that does so."

That got their attention. Tsunade looked went very pale and pursed her lips. Shizune had a hand over her mouth. Kakashi's one visible eye widened and Jiraiya simply looked at us.

It was Jiraiya this time that broke the silence.

"Why?"

It was a simple question with no simple answer.

Slowly Chouza related the events of the past few hours to them. From when we received our new mission to when we were summoned to this office now.

By the end Kakashi was frowning.

"So Shikaku was an abusive father then, AND a spy in the village (presumably harming Shikamaru because he found out that he was a spy or something)? Are you sure on this?"

"I don't..."

"It wasn't Shikaku."

All eyes were on me now. Interrupting Chouza had never been something I was ever found of doing, and they knew it, but I couldn't let my friend be blamed for this.

"Explain," demanded Tsunade.

"When I entered Shikaku's mind I wasn't the only one there. There was someone else; someone else who was in control of his body and has been attempting to gain this control for quite some time. I don't know much about this person but they were using a similar technique to mine. Shikaku has not been in control of his own body for, at least, two weeks."

Again, pure silence. This time, though, I could practically hear the cogs in all their brains turning.

Still frowning, Kakashi hit the cord which I was trying to avoid.

"So where's Shikaku then? What happened to his conscience?"

Taking a big breath I tried to form the words. I failed.

"Take your time."

Giving Jiraiya a grateful smile, I tried again.

"Shikaku... Shikaku was still there. ... He was just ... just ... hiding. He was hiding in the corner of his mind. It ... You know when a child is scared, on their first day at the academy or something, and they curl up in a corner of the room and try to not be seen. And you know how sometimes you can tell that kid is being bullied or something because he has a bruise or a cut or he's just mentally not that well. That kid was basically Shikaku in his mind but it was worse. Far worse. He is that kid if the kid was bleeding none stop and had no area of him not covered in bruises. He has clearly been mentally tortured by this guy for a while and it has broken him. I'm terrified for both of the Nara's mental health but, honestly, I'm more worried for Shikaku at the moment."

Silence reigned once more.

POV – Sakura

I practically ran from the hospital to the Yamanaka's flower shop. When Mrs. Yamanaka told me Ino was at Chouji's house, I ran there. I completely ignored Naruto until he demanded to know why we were running, after he had come to talk me into training with him at the hospital. Actually, scratch that, I ignored him then as well.

We found Ino and Chouji round the back talking and chucking a few kunai at a post.

It looked, for all the world, like they were just messing around until Shikamaru turned up. It was probably what they were doing. They clearly had no idea.

Noticing their arrival, Chouji stood up while Ino wave and called them over. Happy to be with his friends after several intense days of training, Naruto ran over to them and began dancing round. I just waved and walked over slowly.

I don't know what to say. Their parents know but they haven't told them yet. What if they don't want their children to know? What if I got it wrong? No. I definitely saw correctly. But how will they react? What if I'm doing the wrong thing?

"Saku-u-ura?" sang Ino in a sing-song voice pulling me back to the present.

"Ha! Leave her Ino. She's probably going over some medical jitsu in her head or something," laughed Naruto. "Now, how 'bout we find Shikamaru and go get some Ramen?"

A general cheer went up but I knew I had to say something.

"Umm... I don't think Shikamaru will be joining us."

"What? Why?" demanded Ino.

"Umm... I may be wrong but when I was in the hospital just now I was told my shift was being covered so didn't have to come to work today. I didn't think much of it but when I was talking with one of the nurses I saw someone who looked like Shikamaru be wheeled past one a bed. Also while we were leaving I heard some nurses talk about some form of attack down at the Nara clan grounds."

The wind stirred the dead leaves at their feet as everyone there put the pieces together in their head.

When it clicked Ino and Naruto began to protest, insisting they needed to go back to the hospital. Luckily for me Chouji was on the same wavelength as I was and helped me get them to go out for Ramen. Eventually we got there and sat down without the two blonds trying to run off to the hospital.

I glanced over at Chouji as I ate my blow of noodles and sauce. It was hard on him. I could tell from the way he sat and only poked at his food that he wanted as much as the rest of us to just run out of here and find out what really happened. But, more than that, he wanted me to be wrong.

I hope I was wrong too.

Author's Notes:- What one earth am I on? A second post within a month! I'm on a role! Seriously though, I am taking this story so much more seriously now and I am doing it basically every evening. This will hopefully mean that I will update more often but at the same time this could just be a one off so I'm really sorry if that is the case.

I don't really like this chapter but it is more of a filler chapter because you have to know what everyone else thinks and what Inoichi saw in more detail. Also I did promise Naruto's dramatic entrance in this chapter but it didn't quite work out that way. I tried making it more dramatic and from Naruto's point of view but it just didn't work, so sorry.

Special thanks to XxGaaraXRukixX and all my other loyal reviewers that for some reason have endless patience with me. Love you guys that have reviewed loads and please review on this chappy too.

Cake still on offer...

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