The day after the invasion by the forces of Sand and Sound, the hospital which survived all of the chaos and destruction relatively unscathed seemed to be the place to be, especially if your name was Uzumaki. It wasn't only the injured who were gathered at the hospital whose halls overflowed with the injured, as there was a sizable crowd standing outside of the building holding a vigil. Who this vigil was for was the woman who had just been elected Godaime Hokage by the Council and the Fire Daimyo.

Those who knew Tsunade knew that if, no when Tsunade woke up, she would be very pissed when she discovered what her former sensei's teammates had done. She'd just come back to Konoha to issue an ultimatum to the villagers and make sure that a bunch of relatives who decided that Konoha was the place to be because people didn't want them there got settled. Staying, much less becoming Hokage had not been on her list of things to do.

Shortly after the invasion, Tsunade had been brought in, badly wounded, with one of the worst cases of Chakra depletion that the medics had ever seen, and barely clinging to life. It was touch and go, and it was uncertain whether or not the Sannin would make it through the night.

Miraculously, she made it through the surgery which closed the massive wound which had been caused by Orochimaru's sward, and had survived until dawn. As she lay in the Intensive Care Unit, people filtered towards the hospital where they offered their prayers and well-wishes for the woman who had stood by the Sandaime's side in battle, helping him defeat Orochimaru who had summoned the first and second Hokages for nefarious purposes.

By midday, all business in the village including reconstruction had halted, as most of the village's population was standing outside of the hospital waiting to receive word on any changes in the condition of the Shodai Hokage's granddaughter.


Inside a different ward of the hospital, one of the patients longed to be elsewhere...

Sasuke sighed as he sorted through the gift basket that the Inuzukas who were under his care had left him when they'd blown in for a visit, dragging several of their dogs along with them. After the invasion, he'd been kept in the hospital overnight for observation due to the fact that he'd nearly drained his Chakra reserves in the fight with Gaara, and the fact that after his Chakra reserves had been drained, the seal that that bastard Orochimaru had given him during the second stage of the exams had flared up very painfully before vanishing.

If he hadn't known about Naruto being the container for the Kyuubi, he probably would have been a great deal more jealous over the fact that Naruto had beaten Gaara when he had failed. It was only natural that Naruto had done so, considering the fact that Gaara merely contained the one tailed sand monster, and Naruto contained something that was either nine times, or exponentially stronger than the creature Gaara contained. If he wanted someone to measure his skills against in order to see how close he was to defeating Itachi, he needed to look a bit closer to Earth and compare himself to Kakashi, or one of the Sannin like Tsunade. As it was, he still had a long way to go.

The only reason Gaara hadn't been completely curb stomped yesterday was that before Kakashi came along, and the arrival of all of those Uzumaki, Naruto hadn't received any proper training. It wasn't that Naruto's academy training had been sabotaged, it was more that nobody had been willing to help him outside of class and had done the bare minimum for him in class. That, and the Uzumaki fighting style was something that apparently could only be understood and corrected by another Uzumaki.

As he bit into one of the tomato stuffed onigiri that the Inuzukas had rather thoughtfully included in the basket, he started thinking about what he would be doing when he got out of the hospital. Of course, the first item on his list was to check and make sure that the station hadn't been too badly damaged during the invasion. The second item was to make sure that law and order was upheld in these uncertain times when they were essentially without a Hokage. After that...

He groaned as he realized exactly how much work he had ahead of him before he had any spare time in which to train to defeat Itachi. How he would be able to get strong enough when he had to deal with all of the responsibilities that the Inuzukas kept reminding him of, he didn't know.

He spat out the last bite of his onigiri and pulled something out of his mouth, making a face as he examined it.

That was the problem with Inuzuka home cooking. Dog hair got everywhere.


In a room down the hall from Sasuke, Naruto lay unconscious. This had not been a result of the boy's battle with Gaara. Naruto had rather quickly gotten over the Chakra Exhaustion and healed all of his wounds like usual, and was his normal hyperactive self after a three hour nap. What had happened was that the boy had attended the wake the Uzumaki were holding, and after an entire night of drinking, he had gotten just drunk enough to forget exactly why he didn't eat the mushrooms that he remembered being rather tasty when he'd gone out into the woods to gather breakfast. There were few poisons that could knock out a Jinchurriki, and a certain species of mushroom that grew in the forests around Konoha were one of them. A fifth cousin twice removed ended up finding the boy, panicking, and dragging him to the hospital where he'd had his stomach pumped and had been put into a room until he woke up just like the last time that had happened when he was six.

"And how's my favorite student?" Jiraiya boomed as he entered Naruto's hospital room bearing gifts that would have been more appropriate for Hatake Kakashi rather than a twelve year-old boy.

"Out!" Naruto's elder cousin whom he thought was named Masao or something like that growled from Naruto's bedside. "We told you to get lost after you chucked him off that cliff."

"But I was..." he began. The other Uzumaki hadn't cared for him after Naruto had managed to get himself hospitalized summoning Gamabunta, and had made it clear in every way they could.

"Don't care, now out!" the old man yelled.

"Fine. I'm leaving." he said as he set the gifts he'd brought down on Naruto's bedside table. He'd have plenty of time to talk to Naruto when he took the boy on the training trip he'd been planning ever since the brat was still inside his mother. If the other Uzumaki didn't catch him and kill him when he smuggled the boy out of the village that was.


Down in the hospital morgue, a man stood staring at a body. While some might find this worrisome considering the number of perversions that ran rampant throughout the Elemental Nations, the man wasn't staring at the body which had just been prepared for burial in that manner. In fact, if the man had been any less heartless, he would have been kneeling near the body and crying his eyes out. After all, the man who was staring at the body had been friends with the deceased to one degree or another for over sixty years. Sure, there'd been times when he'd hated the man and all he stood for, but in the end, he always found himself remembering the boy he'd chased after hoping one day to be as good as or better than him, the boy he'd loved like a brother.

That brother, that rival, that comrade in arms who had frustrated him to no end was gone now, and all that was left was the lifeless husk on the table before him awaiting placement in a coffin.

If a tear slid down the living man's face as he turned away from his dead friend, he would deny it to his last breath.

There was no more time for him to waste on the dead. He had a village to rebuild, and possibly run.