Title: Of Problems and Concussions
: Minato/Kushina (who are quickly becoming my OTP or something), lots of Rin (which turned out to be a total surprise, whaddaya know?). As always, Kakashi and Jiraiya make cameos, but this time they may or may not be joined by the Sandaime and assorted others.
Uh, T. For a couple naughty words and adult concepts. Rating might go up later on, depending on where this story wants to take itself. Seriously, guys, my stuff tends to go in wild and crazy directions all on its own and all I can do is hang on to its beltloops. Oy.
I need to get off this MinaKushi kick thing, but it's seriously not letting me. Also, this happens to be my first multi-parter in ages, so be nice. (Well, better than than a one-shot longer than your arm.) It'll be a three-four chapter thing. The next bit will have Minato's perspective, and as for the rest, I haven't decided yet, as my writing is a fickle, fickle thing. Also, this is set in canon!verse, and stands independently from any other MinaKushi fic I've written. And as always, please remember to review!

Uzumaki Kushina had a problem.

And that problem was that she wanted to screw Namikaze Minato every which way that was possible. (She was also quite willing to attempt some ways that were said to anatomically impossible. But, hey, they were ninja and he was a genius. Something had to give, right?)

Well, she supposed, as she flung a kunai and dodged a thrust from a particularly troublesome Iwa-nin, it's not that much of a problem. Not really. She danced delicately around yet another swipe from the enemy, and then deemed it appropriate to jam a senbon needle in his left eye. There. That ought to keep you down.

Her infatuation with Minato (and she absolutely refused to add any simpering honorifics to his name, damn it; she wasn't a fangirl, she just lusted after him—and there so too was a difference!) wasn't generally a problem. Besides, every female (and a good portion of the males, she'd bet) in the village had all wanted a piece of Minato's very fine derriere at one point or another. (It was practically an initiation rite of womanhood, from what she'd heard.) But still, the desire had persisted far longer in her than she had initially anticipated.

And up until recently, it hadn't been a problem.

So she had wanted to have sex with him rather badly. She was healthy and young, and he was gorgeous. Carnal urges, as inconvenient as they were, quite honestly were never a problem. No, that had started when she had began sprouting off feelings for him: honest-to-god, squishy feelings. She wanted—god help her—she wanted him to love her. It was all his fault, too--he had that sad smile (when he wasn't grinning like a ferocious fool, but she loved that grin, too) and beautiful hands (with long fingers that tapered to elegant points, hands that both nurtured and killed, that destroyed and built, and that dichotomy intrigued her like nothing else) and the sweetest, kindest manner and a kind of emotional emptiness about him that she wanted to fill. And that threw a wrench into the whole affair: very little truly mattered to Uzumaki Kushina, but she would rather saw off a hand and give up her career than give Minato a reason to doubt his friendship with her. And as grand as her devotion to friendship sounded in her head, though, in real life, it translated to a lot of heartache and sexual urges. Unfulfilled ones, at that.

She muttered a curse as two more Iwa-nin descended on her. On a normal day, they wouldn't have given her this much trouble, but the ambush had caught her and her team—which, incidentally, included Minato, but also a Nara clan member by the name of Shikaku and a medic-nin named Kaga Hanako—at the tail end of a rather dangerous, exhausting and challenging mission. It was the worst possible time to be attacked: injuries needed to be tended to and chakra depletion was imminent. It was made even worse by the fact that the attackers had a tailed beast with them—and it had gone for Minato, chakra bubbling sickeningly and eyes stretched wide with blood-lust.

She wasn't that worried about him—Minato was hailed as a genius for many reasons, and one of them was that he was bloody practical and cool-headed when it came to battle. He would be fine, she told herself firmly. The four squads that accompanied the demon container, however, would sing a different song. She couldn't let Minato face all that alone—she loved and respected and lusted after the man, but she also was a ninja.

And ninja, especially the sort of ninja that Kushina was, didn't let lone teammates do all the dirty work.

They circled her like a pair of jackals, and eyed her with glints in their eyes that left a sour taste tanging in the back of her mouth. One dove in, feinted to the side. She dodged the blow deftly, keeping an ear out for his teammate. She spun away from her initial attacker gracefully, rounded in on the second. Graceful and deadly as a whirlpool. Victory was imminent, her kunai mere centimeters from his neck—

When the third one took her by surprise. He slammed into her with brutish force. She felt her head hit something hard—a finger on her left hand bent in a way it shouldn't—and there was pain everywhere. She wondered, dimly, how she had managed to miss an attacker of this girth, and decided that pondering her love-life was strictly something she did off-mission from now on. No exceptions. Provided, of course, that she survived this.

She noted vaguely that he was leering at her in a decidedly unpleasant manner, which meant that he had to die.

If only she could find a way to arrange that, but that pesky black blurriness kept clouding her vision and all her fingers could do was twitch ineffectually around the kunai she'd somehow kept a hold of. That should alarm her (concussion, internal bleeding, broken bones, get up, damn it!), as should the Iwa-nin's hand groping her front and hastily riffling through her clothes. Idiots, she thought weakly. If they were looking for the scroll, they were going at the wrong person.

Suddenly, the Iwa-nin just wasn't there anymore, and she once again felt her body slammed into a rather unfortunately placed rock protrusion. Ouch, she thought. That's gotta mean a broken rib or two. There was screaming—though human or chakra in origin, she really couldn't tell—and then gentle hands were turning her over, feathering over her ribcage.

A wave of pain washed over her as the hands probed her left side. Oh, yeah. Definitely broken.

She passed out moments later.

When she came to, the first thing she noticed was that the ceiling was white (ceiling? What ceiling? Where exactly is this?). The second thing was that she had a blinding headache.

"Son of a bitch," she hissed and shut her eyes again. "Ow." There was also pain down below, but that was more residual and felt more like the pleasant sort of pain she got after a thorough training session. The angry jackhammers in her head, though, were a different matter.

"Oh!" came a surprised voice from somewhere to her left. "You're awake!" A young medic, small and dark-haired, stood at her side, flipping through charts. Her hitae-ate, very comfortingly, had the Konoha emblem emblazoned across it. "You're in Konoha General. I'm Rin, by the way. How are you feeling?"

"Ah…" Kushina croaked. One of Minato's students, she remembered. "Headache. Really bad one." She took inventory as she spoke: her entire left side and right hand were a mass of dully thudding pain, but other than that she seemed fine. And alive. Alive was good. Alive in Konoha was even better.

"And my teammates? Are they all right?"

"Right as rain, I believe. You got off with the worst of it," Rin answered, scribbling away, purple rectangles bright on her cheeks under the harsh florescent lights. "What's your name?"

"Uzumaki Kushina," she answered automatically. "What--?"

"Who's the current Hokage?"

"Sarutobi Hiruzen-sama. Why—?"

"What village are we in?"

"Konoha! What's with the questions?"

"Just routine procedure, Kushina-san," Rin answered serenely. "I wanted to make sure of your level of mental consciousness and concentration capacity. You're doing much better than expected. We'll have to carry out more extensive tests, of course, but I'll get to that later."

Pertinent information first. "How long was I out?"

"A day, give or take a few hours. You had us very worried, but I think we'll be okay now. We do need to some tests and such, and of course you won't be allowed out on missions until you completely recover; but for now, it's one day at a time, okay?"

All right. That was to be expected, after all.

Kushina licked her lips. "What…happened?" The events that led up to her sorry state were a blank, and it disconcerted her.

"Memory loss, both retrograde and antegrade," Rin said, making a note on her chart, "is quite common, you see, after a concussion." She looked down into Kushina's eyes steadily. "In fact, Kushina-san, we weren't sure you were going to make it at all, so…well, in any case, you're quite lucky. You've got a major concussion"—which would explain the headache—"two broken ribs on your left side"—which would further explain the dull throbbing that her torso was giving off—"and a broken finger on your right hand. The middle one, I believe." She gestured with her pen. "Add that to a whole host of abrasions and contusions. I'll say it again, Kushina-san—you're quite lucky to have survived."

That…that sounded quite nasty. But she would think about that later; she pushed her brush with death to back of her mind and compartmentalized it. She would worry about it then, where no one could see her shake like a feather and vomit like a rookie after a first kill.

In any case, no wonder she felt like utter shit. Kushina shook her head, or tried to; the blearing pain in her head wouldn't let her get very far in that endeavor. Still she persisted, "Thank you. For telling me all of that and saving me life. But…but what happened? During the mission, I mean."

"That. From what I know, you tried—"

"To take on two squads of Iwa jounin—on your own, might I add—and nearly died in the process."

Minato loomed in the doorway, arms crossed over his chest, perpetually smiling eyes now dark with anger.

Kushina gulped.

"Rin," he said conversationally without looking away from Kushina's eyes, "would you take a look at Kakashi's arm? He overextended himself. Chakra burns."

"Again?" Rin asked, exasperated. "Sure thing, Sensei. Rest up, Kushina-san. I'll send someone over with something to help with the pain and nausea in a bit."

"What nausea?" Kushina asked, alarmed.

"It'll come. Don't wear her out, Sensei. I mean it." Rin walked out of the room.

And it was just her, all alone with Minato. An angry Minato, she corrected mentally, and gulped again. He sat down heavily in her bedside chair, steepling his fingers and peering at her over them.

"Eight Iwa jounin, Kushina-san. Eight. Do you have any idea what odds you were fighting against?" He spoke at last.

She studied a particularly discolored corner of the ceiling.

"Eight against one, Kushina-san," he continued, voice quietly hard and eyes flat. "That's one in eight chances that you would survive, and considering your state of exhaustion and depleted chakra levels, even less than that. I'm no stranger to bad odds, Kushina-san. I know you're not, either."

Her eyes found themselves drawn to his by the inexorable weight of his voice. He gazed down at her steadily, eyes hard and bright as diamonds, his handsome, even features set in a grave mask. She suddenly wished she wasn't lying down.

"But those odds weren't merely bad, Kushina-san. They were suicidal." He touched the bridge of his nose with a thumb and forefinger. "As for what happened, you were taken down by a sensor that hid himself during your engagement with two others with his squad. They were, as far as I could tell, trying to find the scroll we were sent to recover." There's an odd, strangled sort of quality to his last few words.

There was silence. Kushina licked her lips again. "To be perfectly fair, Minato, I was doing well until the sensor bastard blindsided me." She took a breath and continued. "And…and I couldn't let you take all of them on alone."

She felt his anger surge through him rather than saw it. He seemed bigger, his eyes sharper. "You could have. You should have."

As uneasy as Kushina felt, that was just irrational. A small beam or irritation fought its way through her mind, and she clung on to it. "You were fighting a tailed beast at the time," she croaked. "A few jounin weren't that much trouble. I mean, relatively speaking. You were running out of your special kunai, and you know it. Shikaku-san's leg was broken. Kaga-san was out of chakra. We were a team, Minato. What, did you expect me to sit around and do nothing?"

"I expected you to act in a manner that was neither reckless nor irresponsible," he gritted out. He was angry now, angrier than he'd been when he'd walked in, angrier than she had ever seen him. "You may not have been outclassed, but you were definitely outnumbered. There's a limit to your recklessness, Kushina-san, I know there is. I suggest you find it before I recommend you for deskwork. Permanently."

His words robbed her of breath, and not in the romantic sort of way, either. Her cheeks lit up with a combination of shame and anger.

"Get better soon, Kushina-san." He rose from his seat in one fluid motion before she could say anything and stalked to the door. When he was nearly out, he rested a calloused hand against the doorframe, and murmured, "I don't like losing teammates, Kushina-san. I really, really don't."

And then he was gone.

Kushina's throat was painfully dry, her head throbbed, and her stomach began heaving in earnest. She was also angry, irritated, and possessed by an oddly strong desire to smack Minato across the back of his shaggy blond head.

She winced. They had argued, but nothing had been settled between them.