Naruto woke up to the sound of beeping.

Well, that was annoying.


He winced, as even the whisper was strong enough to make his head hurt, but opened his eyes nonetheless. Granted, he closed them again a second later because things were just way too bright, but even those little signs were enough to get Sakura's attention.


"I'd suggest you quiet down a bit, Sakura-chan." Oh, hey, that was Kakashi-sensei. That was cool.

"Sorry." Sakura whispered, much quieter.

"…we win?" Naruto whispered, incapable of doing much more.

"For a certain value of win." Kakashi-sensei explained. "We lost a lot of people, but we drove Oto out and Suna surrendered, so we came out better than they did, at the least."

"…anyone…" His voice failed him, incapable of continuing, but Kakashi got the picture.

"Chouji lost an arm, though I've heard rumors that they managed to sew it back on. Sasuke's in the next room, still unconscious, and you've got burns over most of your body. Sakura—"

"I've got a broken leg and some injuries on my torso that are going to scar, but that's the worst of it. One of those mercenary kids got involved before that guy could do anything more. The, uh… the girl with the scars and the Raiton techniques."

Kakashi took over again. "Shikamaru's got two broken fingers. Ino's fine, and so is TenTen, but they're both in counseling for survivor's guilt. Team Eight is mostly fine, though Shino lost a good portion of his hives and Hinata seems to have gone into a depression after finding out that her sister landed herself in a coma trying to heal Chouji. Lee and Neji are fine, mostly just concerned about their teammate and a few other people. Haku wasn't touched, and Zabuza only got a few small cuts and a bit of poisoning that he was apparently immune to anyway. Robin's currently helping guard some prisoners, and I think that's everyone."


"Ah, right. Sakura, would you like to take this one?"

"She didn't get hit by a single weapon the whole invasion, and her only injuries were from a bomb that went off nearby when she was trying to pull you away from the Akatsuki guy's line of attack."

Naruto remembered that.

"Um… she's in Sasuke's room now. Said that she didn't need to worry about you, because you're an Uzumaki, and Uzumaki don't die that easily. Especially if they have the Kyuubi."

"Go back to sleep, Naruto." Kakashi patted his head. "Your cousin's annoying, but she's also right. Get some rest, and you'll be fine in a few days."

"But…" Naruto had to breathe far too often. "Jii-san?"

"He lost a lot of blood and one of his arms, but he's alive and well otherwise. Go to sleep, Naruto."

Naruto fell asleep.


Robin tilted her head as she heard footsteps approaching from behind. They were heavy, very heavy, and told her that the person approaching was both very large and not a ninja.

She didn't need the footsteps to know who was coming.

"Crocodile." She muttered, though she never took her eyes off of the one-way window in front of her; she was watching prisoners, and as dangerous as the prisoners were, she felt uncomfortable looking away. "You want something?"

"A trip back to our world would be nice." The man came to a stop right next to her, though he didn't lean against the 'console' the way she did, but stayed upright with his arms crossed over his chest instead. "I got what I came for."

"So Gaara…?"

"Interesting, but he's too young and unhinged to entertain me for more than a few days, and if my sources are correct, he is returning to his home in a half-week's time. I prefer war to teaching, and if I'm going to be doing any conquering…"

"It'll be our world, not this one." Robin smiled, though the expression was empty. "I'll see about sending you home tomorrow."

"Be sure that you do."


"I'm worried about Hinata." Kurenai muttered into her drink, swishing it around in the glass with a mercurial expression on her face. "Kiba and Shino are okay, but with what happened to Hanabi, I'm just… I'm afraid she's going to go somewhere I can't follow."

"I feel you." Asuma was leaning against the counter, cigarette in his fingers, unlit. "Ino's skinnier than I've seen her, and I don't think she's been sleeping at all. She's training harder than ever before, but… not in a good way. Chouji's still in physical therapy as it is, and Shikamaru's been holed up kami-knows-where for days, and I don't know what he's been doing, but he asked me about what kinds of training people needed before applying for T&I or ANBU yesterday, and…" He trailed off, sighed, and took a swig of his drink.

"I fear that TenTen is in much the same way as your young Yamanaka Ino." Gai admitted. "The guilt over the injuries she allowed to befall to her peers and the young Hyuuga weighs on her far heavier than any of the weights I've seen her carry. Neji has been having his own troubles with the family as well."

"Sasuke's still in a coma." Kakashi offered, because even though his students were injured, none of them were suffering emotionally the way the rest of the Rookies, and Gai's team, seemed to be. Of course, Kakashi had seen his own little pocket of angrily disturbing during the invasion…

"You're hiding something." Kurenai pointed out, ever the keen eyes, even with the low lighting and the mask that hid his features.

Kakashi thought it over for a second. "You remember that mercenary girl? The redhead?"

"You mean the fake genin that went on that rant during the first exam and fought Neji in the Prelims?" Asuma asked carefully.


"Then yes, I do remember."



"I watched her die." Kakashi held his glass up to the light, mindlessly watching some little bubbles flutter around in the amber liquid. "And yeah, I've watched a lot of people die, but her teacher was… she brushed it off. Said that it was the girl's own fault that she'd gotten hit, and that she'd have a lot of fun in hell before she came back to terrorize her team some more. Didn't even try to heal her, and this was a medic Jounin. Her teammate, the boy, the boyfriend with the Katon? He didn't even seem to notice."

Kurenai winced. "Are you sure the girl's dead? If there was any chance of her coming back, then it may have just been that they were used to her getting injured."

"You don't get up from having a sword shoved through your eye and out the back of your head." Kakashi wasn't… bitter, really, because he hadn't known anyone involved well enough, but the principle of it was enough.

Kurenai swore softly. "That's… bad."



Naruto was up within a few days, and Sasuke was moved to the coma ward, just across from Hyuuga Hanabi, one of the most secure areas in the hospital. It was actually Haku's old room, as the Yuki had moved out once the hospital had started filling up after the invasion, and was now living with Zabuza. By all accounts, it was a good move, and people felt secure enough to send one Uzumaki Naruto out on a mission with Jiraiya of the Sannin to bring back Senju Tsunade for the seat of Hokage.

This was, of course, before the incident that lead to the death of Hyuuga Hanabi.


A/N: I will only be posting another two or three chapters.

EDIT: Thank you to everyone who helped me with getting back a copy of Chapter 19: kyuuo, Counting Sinful Stars, and XAvAX.

Ja ne,