phew. it's been a while since i last updated this story! i had already started on this chapter straight after the one before, but i just didn't have any motivation so i wrote real slow. but, i've gotten quite a number of favourites and reviews since then, so it got me going! ^_^ Thanks everyone who favourited and reviewed so far!
It was quiet in the hospital. Deathly quiet.
The usual hustle and bustle of people dashing about up and down the corridors was gone. The hospital just didn't feel like one anymore without it. The familiar hum of activity had vanished completely. Only Rin and several dozen patients remained silently in the empty shell of a structure.
I'm the only person that is capable of protecting the patients. It's my duty as a medical-nin and a shinobi! I can do this! Thought Rin as she patrolled the empty corridors.
Every now and then she'd check up on the patients, who had all been moved into the main infirmary room, putting on a cheery face to mask her worry.
"How's everybody doing? I know this must be hard staying behind here in the hospital at such a dangerous time, but I'll be here to look after you so nobody has to worry about a thing!" She'd said every time, trying to sound brave and confident but she'd always get the same answers from the patients.
"I'm fine." They would all say. "But are you okay?"
It occurred to Rin that the patients weren't really worried much about their own safety at all, but more for hers. She knew many of the patients on a personal level, since she always spent so much time at the hospital. Rin had already received many words of support and encouragement from the people she was looking after.
"How brave of you Rin to stay and look after all of us. There should be more shinobi like you these days!" An elderly woman had praised.
"Rin-san! Rin-san! Rin-san! She's the bravest medic-nin in all of the five nations!" A young boy had cried.
Everyone was backing Rin and helping her to build up her confidence. It was nice to know that she had the full support of her patients. This was by far the most risky and dangerous mission she'd ever taken before by herself and even Rin herself had doubts if she could truly be able to complete it if things got complicated. But in the end it would be the most rewarding mission. Protecting the ones who need protecting is a responsibility and duty that is the most basic of all medical-nin principles.
Rin had lost track of time by now, but if she had to guess, it must have been at least an hour or two since she'd last seen Kakashi.
Is he doing okay? He's not hurt is he? No. Kakashi's not the type of shinobi who gets injured that easily! I know he's out there trying his best! Rin reassured herself.
Rin's mind had worked out that Kakashi had not been stationed near the hospital after all. If he had been, then he would have stopped by quickly to tell her or would have at least radioed her. This only further built up her courage.
Kakashi won't be here to help me fight or rescue me… I have to be strong! This is my chance to prove myself as a kunoichi of the Leaf Village. If I make it through this, then maybe Kakashi won't think of me as someone who needs to be protected all the time. Maybe he won't think of me as someone who's weak…
It wasn't as if Rin had considered radioing him, just to make sure that he was doing okay and to tell him the situation at the hospital, but she'd held herself back.
There's no need to radio him is there? The hospital's doing fine, no Iwa-nin have come to attack it yet… and Kakashi's probably doing fine as well. Yes. There's no reason to radio him at all. If I do, it'll just distract him if he's in a fight right now.
Rin sighed and leant against the cold, white-tiled wall. She needed some fresh heavy and thick air that hung inside the hospital was not helping to calm her bundle of nerves.
Once she had informed the patients that she was going to be away from the corridors for a few minutes, she then made her way up to the hospital roof. Stepping out through the door and putting her hands on the railings, she took several deep and slow breaths to relax herself. Once she was done, she surveyed the village from the rooftop. The Konoha Hospital was after all, one of the tallest buildings in the village second only to the Hokage Tower.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, besides the noise of clashing metal and cries in the far distance. It didn't look like any more gates had been broken through since the last time she'd checked. It seemed that Konoha was doing pretty good for itself.
I'm glad no one at the hospital's been hurt so far… Rin thought, as she put her head to rest on her arms and closed her eyes for a brief second.
The faint boom from an explosion reached her ears and Rin's head shot up at once, eyes scanning for the source.
What was that? Is… is that smoke?
Rin squinted her eyes and put a hand up to block out the sun's glare in order to see better.
Yes… Yes it is!
A small plume of grey smoke was climbing into the sky just a little right of her in the distance.
That… that's where the east gate is!
The far off cries intensified as another explosion was detonated. More smoke billowed upwards, leading Rin to believe the worst.
The east gate is being destroyed! We're going to get infiltrated! Kakashi's not fighting there is he?
Rin's heart began racing as she began to lapse into the early signs of panic. She suddenly felt the need for Kakashi to be by her side. She wanted to know whether the explosions that had just gone off had affected him. She wanted to know if he was wounded. She wanted to know if Iwa-nin were streaming in by the dozens, straight into the village or not. She wanted to know so many things, yet none could be answered at this very moment. Infiltration or no infiltration, Rin needed to get back to the patients as soon as possible. She'd already spent too much time out on the roof. The recent explosions had only urged her to return quicker.
However just as she turned around, something moved at the corner of her eye. The movement wasn't big, more like a small, subtle fluttering at the edge of her vision and she was sure that she would have missed it if she had turned around a fraction of a second earlier.
What was it that moved? Rin's eyes scanned the ground, lingering at the corners of buildings and on the edge of streets when a brief, bright glint from the reflection on something metallic caught her attention. Her well-trained eyes were attracted to them immediately and she gasped at what she saw.
There were three of them, moving about with stealth along the empty streets below.
No… it can't be. Rin stood there speechless.
The Iwa-nin were heading straight for the hospital. At the distance they were now, it wouldn't take them very long until they reached the barricaded front doors. It would take less than a few minutes at the very least, she was sure of it.
No, no, no, no no! The voice inside Rin's head screamed as adrenaline pumped through her body and coursed through her veins. She was still going down the steps, dashing down and leaping over them, not taking care of where she was placing her feet. Her heart skipped a beat at one stage when she nearly tripped over her heels.
They're coming! They're coming! Will I be in time to warn the patients?
Lungs panting and body heaving, she finally managed to reach the floor of the main infirmary room. Bursting open the door, she stormed in a rush. The patients in their beds turned their heads at Rin, giving her their full attention.
"What's wrong dearie? Have they come?" An elderly woman asked, concerned.
Giving herself a few seconds to catch her breath, Rin replied in a calm voice as to not panic the patients.
"Yes. I'm afraid that I have spotted a number of Iwa-nin headed towards the direction of the hospital."
Gasps were let loose all around the infirmary room.
"Now, there's no need to be alarmed! It's not for certain that they'll come and attack the hospital. There's a chance that we're not going to be targeted, maybe they're after something else."
"Let's hope so dearie! It would be a shame if you ended up getting hurt." The elderly woman voiced.
"Rin-san will be able to protect all of us! She's the best medical-nin ever!" Shouted the little boy.
Rin smiled a shaky smile, grateful for the support. "Now, if the event of an attack on the hospital should happen, I'd like all of you to stay here in this room and not to involve yourselves in the fight. It's quite safe here in the infirmary, the walls are reinforced with steel and-"
The sharp sound of shattering glass rang in her ears, bringing her and the whole room to silence. Rin's heart skipped a beat and a shiver ran through her body.
Someone's broken into the hospital.
"What was that?" Wailed an old man. "They've come haven't they? They've come!" Hearing their dreaded thoughts spoken aloud, the patients became restless.
"Quiet everyone! Don't make too much noise and stay as quiet as you can or they'll hear you. I'll go and investigate what caused the shattering glass. As soon as I fix everything up, I'll be sure to come back. Don't worry about me I'll be fine." Rin commanded as she hurriedly closed the infirmary doors and dashed away. She needed to find out who or what was responsible for the shattering glass, whether she liked it or not.
Rin was sure that the sound had come from a few floors down on the west side. She ran quickly to get there, but as she neared the area, her legs slowed themselves down until she was at a pathetic slow creeping pace.
Rin reached the stair shaft that would take her down to the west wing area. Fear of the unknown was starting to take over her. Edging down the steps, she reached the door where she paused to pull herself together. She was fearful of what she might find on the other side of the door.
Kakashi was right. It has been quite a while since she'd last gone on a mission, hasn't it? It's been so long that she'd forgotten how pressured and tense a situation like this was, when you didn't know who your enemies were and where they were located.
Rin was breathing heavily and forming beads of sweat on her forehead while she counted down the seconds. The seconds of when she would open the door and find out who the intruders were.
3… 2… 1, now!
Rin tore open the door and opened her eyes, blinking to adjust to the sight that lay before her, not believing what she saw. Once her eyes were able to comprehend and make sense of the strips of white paper plastered all over the walls, her eyes widened and her body felt limp.
Paper bombs had been stuck all over the walls. Masses of white paper were fixed and spaced randomly all over the place, threatening to suffocate the green painted walls. Everywhere she looked, there were paper bombs. The sheer amount that she saw covering the walls was enough to paralyse her. There must be hundreds if not thousands of them fixed onto the walls of the west wing area.
Rin stood there motionless, mouth agape and wide-eyed. Whoever had done this wanted to blow up the hospital. With this number of paper bombs, the explosion would be sure to erase any trace of the hospital. There would be nothing left.
Rin was so fixated on the paper bombs that she failed to notice the three figures standing in the middle of the room. They were all men, their weapon pouches hanging menacingly at their hips, each and every one of them sporting a hitai-ate on their foreheads that were adorned with two rocks, one behind the other. The kunai they had drawn from their pouches when Rin had stormed in were glinting frighteningly in their hands.
"Well, well, what do we have here?" Smirked the one on the far left, swinging his kunai around and around on his finger.
Rin jumped as she was alerted to the fact that she was not the only person present.
"Looks like we've been found out." Said the one standing on the right, running a hand over his sand coloured hair casually.
"No matter. We'll just have to take care of her won't we? This little mouse here has seen something she shouldn't have." The one in the middle purred, the tone of his voice held something bone-chilling that made Rin's skin crawl with fear.
"W-what do you want?" Squeaked Rin, as she struggled to find her voice. They were the three Iwa-nin that she had seen a few minutes ago she was sure. But Rin hadn't anticipated that they would arrive at the hospital that quickly, let alone set up all these paper bombs.
The one in the middle appearing to be the leader stepped forward towards the medical-nin. Rin responded by stepping to the left away from the door and pulling out her own kunai, holding it out in front of her in a defensive position.
"Stay where you are!" She cried. Her throat felt as dry as sand, making her voice sound scratchy and coarse. "Don't come any closer!"
"Oh?" The Iwa group leader stopped in his tracks. "It seems that this little mouse is not as helpless as she seems!" He mocked, looking back at his teammates who laughed along with him.
Rin bit her lip and tightened her grip on her kunai. "What do you want with the hospital? You Iwa-nin have no place here!" She growled.
They only laughed harder. "This little mouse has quite a set of lungs on her doesn't she?"
Rin's teeth gritted fiercely. She knew she had to toughen up if she wanted any hope of beating off the Iwa-nin.
"Leave the hospital now! Or I'll have to-"
"You'll what? Kill us?" Jeered the leader.
"Captain, we still have a number of paper bombs to put up before the assigned detonation time. If we miss it, our efforts will have been for nothing. We should just kill her now." The sandy haired Iwa-nin spoke up, concerned for the time.
"Nonsense! We still have plenty of time. Besides, I feel like having some fun with this little mouse!" The leader advanced towards Rin once again.
Rin kept her distance from the man by side stepping more towards the left, kunai raised and eyes never leaving the man.
"I'm asking one more time! Leave, all of you!" She said, keeping her tone firm.
"Oh no, no we can't do that. You see, we an important mission to complete!" The man grinned sinisterly.
Rin raised an eyebrow. "And what would that be?"
"What do ya think boys? Should I tell her of our mission? It's no fun if you do something that no one knows about don't you agree?" The leader asked his teammates over his shoulder.
"Do what you want captain, just as long as you clean up afterwards. The mission-leaders specifically told us not to leak information, remember?" The Iwa-nin on the far left said unconcerned, still swinging his kunai.
"Very well then! Would you like to hear of our story of bitterness towards Konoha then, little mouse?" The man said, turning back to face Rin.
Rin twitched. She was beginning to get tired of being called a 'little mouse'. Who were they to put labels on her when they knew nothing about her?
"A story of bitterness?" Rin was slightly curious as to what the man was going to tell her but she kept her defensive position, not letting her guard down.
"Listen well then little mouse! I expect you to pay attention or I may as well kill you on the spot now."
Rin's gaze did not falter. The man was doing her a favour by telling her the reason behind the attack. Maybe she could report it once she defeated the Iwa-nin.
"It all goes back to the 3rd Great Shinobi World War." He began, while examining the sharpness of his kunai, turning it around in his hands. "You probably know that your petty Konoha and our Iwagakure were stuck in some pretty thick conflict with each other. Konoha was only able to gain the upper hand because the Kannabi Bridge was destroyed." The man said the last bit with disgust in his voice.
The Kannabi Bridge…
A flood of memories that Rin would rather not remember came back to her in a flash, a subtle aching in her heart made itself known to her.
That was when Obito had… passed away.
She fought the sorrow that was threatening to make painful memories come back. She couldn't afford to get distracted at a time like this.
"Your second-rate Konoha-nin had killed so many of our shinobi. It was like once our supplies were cut off, we were sitting ducks. Your village killed countless numbers of good men and women that were serving on our front lines. Among those killed… was my brother Mahiru." A glint of sadness was visible in his eyes for a brief second when he paused, but soon vanished.
"Once the war was over, almost every family had a member missing or killed. It's only been 5 years, but it feels as if it was only yesterday when the war was raging on our doorstep. Thousands of families still suffer and mourn to this day. You Konoha-nin don't know what it's like to lose someone important! You all continue on as if nothing happened! Just because you were a rich country to begin with, you could afford the weaponry and welfare for your shinobi, thus decreasing your deathrate on the battlefield. But we were not so lucky. We had to make do with what we had and what we could save."
"My brother…" He looked up at Rin, with his cold and hateful, piercing stare. "My brother would not have wanted his death to be in vain! He would have wanted justice! Someone to avenge him! Just like the other thousands of Iwagakure families Konoha has destroyed so recklessly during the war!"
Rin flinched a little when the man's voice had risen so suddenly to an angry cry. It was revenge. Iwagakure has come seeking vengeance on Konoha for killing their shinobi 5 years ago.
"And it's taken 5 long years, but we've finally come prepared!" The man's eyes widened insanely. "We've decided to take a little visit to your village hospital to take the lives of your precious ones! Now you'll know how it feels to lose the lives of loved ones! Oh, but now I'm afraid you've heard too much. Didn't we agree before that you wouldn't be leaving this room alive?" The man held up his right hand to give a signal to his teammates.
Rin backed away from the man as his other team members stepped forward in line with him.
"This is crazy! That's all behind everyone now isn't it? Everything about what you're doing is insane! How can you do something so irrational?" She cried.
"Now die, Leaf-nin! Die for the wrongs of your village!" The leader and his two other teammates lunged towards Rin, kunai dancing.
It was three against one, odds that were looking bleak for Rin.
ChibiJinchuuriki: Well, i tried to make this as 'historically accurate' as possible. Konohakure and Iwagakure were going at it pretty bad in kakashi gaiden so that gave me inspiration for the reason why the Iwa-nin came to attack Konoha. And if any of you smart cookies remember, Mahiru was the first Iwa-nin that team Minato encountered, the one that Kakashi tried to defeat with chidori but Minato ended up killing with hiraishin no jutsu. Please review guys! :)