A/N: I know, I know, don't hate me! I'm really sorry for being MIA! I've just been super busy...yeah, most overused excuse in the book. But seriously, I've been swamped. It's my junior year in high school and between AP classes and scholarship applications, I've barely had time for a personal life, let alone fanfiction. But don't worry! I haven't forgotten about this story and all of the wonderful people who have been patiently waiting for its continuation! so here it is! Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not know Naruto. If I did, I would actually be up to date as to what's happening in the series.
Four hours had passed before I finally began to wonder why the heck I was still sitting in the ER lobby waiting on a health update on a man I'd known for less than a day. The guy was a fellow Konoha shinobi, sure, but other than that, nothing was really obligating me to wait and see if he would live or not.
I shook my head and fought off a yawn as I shifted my gaze up to the lone clock on the wall in front of me. The thin black hands indicated that it was nearing 11 am. I frowned, realizing I should've reported to the Hokage with my mission report a few hours ago.
"Come on, Nao, why should you care if he lives or not?" I muttered to myself as I stood from my chair and stretched my arms over my head, "your job was just to get him to the village alive, not make sure he stayed that way."
An old woman who had occupied the chair next to mine eyed me warily as I continued to hold a conversation with myself while I strode towards the exit. I ignored her judgmental stare as I pushed my way through the double doors; old people never seemed to like me much. As soon as I was outside I headed towards the Hokage Tower. I was too lazy to write a mission report so I decided to just straight up report to the head-honcho himself. I arrived at the massive building within a few minutes and nodded to the guard as I began to climb the stairs.
Even though I was only half way up the steps I could already hear a frustrated (and quite loud) conversation brewing within the Hokage's office. I knocked as soon as I reached the large oak doors, but the voices coming from inside the office were so loud that their owners had no chance of hearing me. When I knocked for the second time and still received no sort of acknowledgement to my presence, I simply shrugged and entered the room, silence abruptly taking over as I stepped inside. Three council members were crowded around the Hokage whom was seated at his desk. All four men looked incredibly agitated at one another, and my sudden appearance didn't seem to help matters; whatever they were discussing wasn't meant for my ears.
"Hi," I said lamely, attempting to break up the awkwardness that was permeating the air.
One of the council members, a rather old and wrinkly one I might add, scowled as he turned to face me, "you girl, don't you know better than to just come into the Hokage's office of your own free will? Shame on you!"
I threw my hands up in a sarcastic form of surrender at the old fart's accusations, "hey, I knocked. Twice," I held up two fingers for emphasis, "it's not my fault no one answered."
The man's face grew livid and he was about to retort when the Hokage stood and began to usher the three men out, "we can finish our conversation …not now. Bye."
The councilmen made impatient noises and shot me glares as they filed out the door past me. It took just about all of my will-power not to stick my tongue out at them and flip'em a bird, but being the lovely lady I am, I pushed aside the urge and put on an innocent face. Yup, old people definitely hated me. The door slammed rather loudly behind them and as soon as he was sure they were gone, the Hokage plopped on the ground in a rather childlike manner and chucked his hat across the office.
"I quit! Being Hokage has been my dream since before I was born, but I just can't take these crazy old kooks!" the blond complained as his bottom lip stuck out.
I laughed at the man's behavior before plopping down on the couch next to his desk. I had become friends with the new Konoha leader since he had been appointed as Hokage a little over six months ago. Before, I had just known him as the Kyuubi-boy who saved the village, but since he became Hokage, I came to know him through the many mission consultations we shared. Our bond was rather strong for one not even a year old.
"Naruto, pouting will get you nowhere," I said as I stretched out on the leather couch, I hadn't slept in at least forty-eight hours and my eyelids were heavy with fatigue.
"You try dealing with those old bags of evil then!" he whined as he made his way back to his desk. He heaved a sigh and leaned back in his chair, "why are you here, anyway?"
I feigned being hurt by his words and immediately gasped, "what is this? Do you not enjoy my delightful company?"
The blond rolled his blue eyes at my act but did not try to hide his grin as he sifted through the piles of paperwork on his desk. Hey, at least I cheered him up a bit, "nope, not one bit. Your company is the bain of my existence. But seriously, what's with the visit?"
I readjusted my position on the couch so that I was upside down, hoping the rush of blood to my head would help me wake up, "you were the one who sent me on the mission. I'm here to report. I saved your friend."
"Really? Kiba's back?" Naruto asked excitedly as he quickly stuffed a mountain of papers into a nearby filing cabinet.
"No wonder your secretary hates you," I commented as he struggled to push the bulging drawer closed.
"Shut up," he grunted as he finally pushed the drawer shut. "So how is he? Where is he now?"
I tumbled backwards off the couch and landed rather ungracefully on my feet, "he's at the hospital being treated. I dropped him off there at about seven this morning when I got back to the village. Some pink lady, Haruno I think, took him. You know her, right?"
Naruto's face was adorned with a broad grin as he nodded, "yeah! If Sakura's taking care of him then he'll be good in no time!"
"Sure, I guess," I said with a nod, losing interest in the subject. But a part of me couldn't help but feel relieved at Naruto's statement; at the knowledge that the man I had rescued was in good hands.
A yawn passed my lips and I stretched a bit, "well, I just wanted to let you know I'm back. Mission accomplished. Send me my payment when you get the chance. I'm going home to crash."
Naruto, ignoring everything I had just said, scrambled across the room to pick up the hat he had previously thrown, and shoved it on his head. Then, throwing on his Hokage robe, he grabbed my wrist and began to drag me from the office.
"Hey!" I cried as I stumbled to keep with the blond's quick pace, his vice-like grip on my wrist giving me no choice but to follow, "where the hell are you taking me?"
"To go see Kiba, of course!" he chirped as we proceeded to exit the building.
"But I just came from there!"
"I left because I was done there. I have no reason to go back!"
"And?" came his reply. We were already half-way to the hospital.
"I want to go home, you idiot!"
"Because. I. Want. To. Sleep." I spat. People were beginning to watch with interest as the Hokage happily dragged me through the street.
"You're stupid! Now let me go!" I said as I dug my heels in the ground and tried to pull my wrist from his grasp, but my attempts were futile. He wasn't the Hokage for nothing.
"Too late. We're already here," he said triumphantly as he pushed his way through the hospital doors, keeping me in tow.
"I hate you," I hissed as I noticed the old woman from earlier glaring at me from the same chair.
"Why's that?" he said absentmindedly as he glanced around the lobby.
"Naruto Uzumaki, I haven't been home in over a week, I haven't gotten any sleep in over two days, and for some reason, you seem compelled to prolong my discomfort. That," I said, finally wrenching my wrist from his loosened grasp, "is why I hate you."
"Yeah, yeah," he said, waving off my explanation as a nurse came up to him and bowed.
"Lord Hokage! What brings you here? Are you injured?" the women asked, casting me a sidelong glance as I attempted to inch away before she turned her attention back to the most important man in the village.
"No, I'm fine. Can you tell me where Sakura is?" He asked, putting a hand on my shoulder to halt my escape.
"Oh, Doctor Haruno just got out of surgery. She should be in her office, sir."
"Thanks," he grinned as the woman bowed and left.
He then, much to my annoyance, began to steer me in the direction of the elevators.
"Naruto, why do you insist on making me go with you to see your friends? I don't even know them!" I threw my hands up to emphasize my exasperation as the blond hit the button for the correct floor number.
"You need new friends. It's good to have friends other than me."
"I have other friends!"
"Birds and your grandpa don't count."
"…Shut up. So why are you taking me with you? Seriously!"
A sigh escaped the blond. "Because you saved someone who a lot of people care about," he said simply, "and I'm thankful for that. I'm sure Sakura wants to thank you as well, and even though he's an ass, I'm sure Kiba will want to thank you too. "
"Oh," was all I could say. I didn't really know how to respond to Naruto when he got sincere. In the six months I'd known him, I learned that if he wasn't being his hyperactive-happy-go-lucky self, he was completely serious. There wasn't really an in between, but I guess the certainty of his personality was what made him so endearing.
The elevator reached the appropriate floor with a high-pitched 'ding' and the two of us proceeded down an adjoining hall. I followed Naruto obediently this time, feeling a bit too guilty to try for another escape. When we arrived at a door at the end of the hall, Naruto knocked once and pushed it open, revealing the pink-haired doctor I had run into earlier. She looked up tiredly at our entrance, but her face blossomed into a smile once she realized who we were. I couldn't help but realize how pretty she was despite looking completely exhausted.
"Hey Sakura, how's Kiba?" Naruto asked as he walked over to give the girl a hug.
"He's doing great!" the rosette replied enthusiastically as she hugged the blond before turning to me, "you're Nao Adachi, right? The one who rescued him?"
I opened my mouth to reply only to be abruptly cut off when the woman launched herself at me, wrapping me in a bone-crushing hug. "Thank you so much! If it weren't you Kiba probably wouldn't have pulled through as well as he did."
"Um, no problem?" I said uncertainly as I was released. I wasn't exactly accustomed to strangers hugging me.
"Sorry," she said, taking a step back but keeping her smile in place, "but I just hope you know how thankful I am."
I gave Sakura a smile in response and shook my head, ignoring the 'I-told-you-so' look Naruto was giving me, "it was nothing, really."
"It was anything but nothing," she said in reply, but didn't push the matter any further. It was my turn to be thankful. I wasn't good at this whole 'thanks-so-much-for-doing-your-job-I'm-going-to-hug-you-even-though-I-have-no-idea-who-you-are' thing.
"So can we see him or what?" Naruto asked obviously referring to Kiba.
Sakura's face scrunched up in thought as she studied the clock on her wall, "hmmm, yes, that should be okay. His surgeries went smoothly so he's pretty patched up now. Nothing majorly wrong except exhaustion and dehydration, but that can be easily fixed. He should be waking up soon anyway. Follow me."
Sakura swiped a clipboard off of her desk and headed out of the office. Naruto and I followed, Naruto skipping happily. I rolled my sleep-deprived eyes.
"How in the world are you the Hokage?" Sakura and I said at the same time. We made eye contact with matching expressions of surprise and then laughed. I had a feeling I could get along with her.
"Hey, no fair! Two against one!" Naruto whined as the two of us continued to laugh.
We quickly reached the room Kiba was resting in, and, after making sure Naruto was finished whining, entered it quietly. Kiba was asleep on the only bed in the room, at the foot of which a giant dog was looking at us happily, tail wagging as it silently guarded its master. The brunette was bandaged in a couple places, but the majority of his wounds were gone. An IV was hooked to one arm while a couple wires were stuck onto his chest connecting him to a heart monitor. The machine gave off a steady beat, showing that his pulse and oxygen intake were perfectly healthy. I took the opportunity to study his face, which was now relaxed and peaceful, the exact opposite of how it had been when he slept on the journey home.
"He looks way better than he did this morning," the words were out of my mouth before I even knew I was saying them.
Sakura just smiled at me, "yeah, I overreacted a bit this morning and got a lot more medics than necessary to help me heal him, so he's definitely okay now."
I just nodded, not knowing what else to do, and took a seat on a couch that was pushed up against one of the white walls, folding my hands over my stomach and leaning my head back.
Exhaustion enveloped me as soon as I sat, so I allowed my eyes to flutter shut as Sakura and Naruto conversed, "do the others know he's back?"
"I called Hinata when I got out of surgery. She said she'd let the others know and that they'd visit tomorrow when he has more strength."
"That's good. Stupid mutt had me scared for a while there, Akamaru coming back without him after being missing for three months," the relief in Naruto's voice was evident, but he sounded distant as I teetered on the edge of consciousness.
Was it rude of me to just fall asleep here like this? At the moment I didn't even care. Sleep was so close and just too tempting to pass up.
"She must be exhausted," Sakura's voice was fuzzy, but my subconscious knew she was referring to me, "you should've just let her go home, Naruto. Why drag her here?"
"You wanted to thank her, didn't you?"
Sakura sighed, "yes, but that could've waited until a later time."
Naruto just laughed, "it was kinda an excuse to introduce her to you anyway. I've been meaning to for a while. She hasn't been in Konoha long. I swear I'm probably the only person here who really talks to her."
"She grew up outside of Konoha? How? She's a Jounin here, isn't she?"
"Yeah, she grew up in a really small village a couple days' journey south of here. Her grandfather brought her up. He's a veteran so he trained her. She came here a little over a year ago, took a test and registered as a Konoha shinobi…" Naruto's voice sounded miles away as he rattled off what I had previously told him of my life's history. I could tell that their conversation continued but I could no longer make out their words as sleep finally overtook my senses.
A/N: so yeah, that was chapter 3! Not much going on there...so review and tell me about how much you would like to see more development! Chapter 4 should be out soon! And I say that with confidence because I'm literally working on it right now and it's almost done. I'm being completely serious, over 1,300 words are typed and ready, so expect it soon! Don't let me procrastinate! Review and tell me how much you want it!...so many exclamation points...Thanks for the support, as always:)