At the first light making its way through the single window in the room, Kyo reluctantly slipped off kaa-san's hospital bed and made her way back home.
She wasn't even surprised to see she had left the front door wide open in her rush to get help.
Kyo carefully closed the door behind her and, clenching her hands into fists, marched straight to her parents' bedroom to see how it looked.
There was a lot of blood, and when Kyo stripped away the bedclothes, her hands were trembling.
Not that it helped all that much, because the dark, sticky liquid had seeped into the mattress, and she didn't know what to do to get it out.
Deciding she couldn't deal with that right now, Kyo carried the bedclothes to the bathroom, where she stuffed them into the washing machine and turned it on. She'd take care of it after school.
Changing into clean clothes, Kyo got her things and then swung by the kitchen to make herself breakfast and lunch.
She didn't realise she probably didn't have to go to class today until she was already sitting at her desk, quite unsure of how she had gotten there.
She'd obviously walked, but she couldn't remember anything between leaving home and taking a seat.
“Are you okay?” Someone asked, and Kyo turned to the left and stared.
A blond boy with teal eyes peered back, a curious cast to his young, childish face.
“No,” she told him bluntly. “But I don't want to talk about it.”
“Oh,” the boy blinked a few times, as if she'd thrown him for a loop. “Okay.” He eyed her a moment longer with clear interest. “I don't think we ever met properly; I'm Yamanaka Inoichi,” he introduced, smiling cheerfully.
“Shiranui Kyo,” Kyo returned flatly.
She knew what time she was in now. Sort of.
Because Ino's fucking dad was standing next to her desk and he kept smiling at her.
The worst part, Kyo mused absently, was that she didn't even have the energy or the emotional capacity to freak out about it right now.
“Everyone take their seats,” Takuma-sensei strode into the room and the moment the students had scrambled to sit down, he launched straight into the morning lecture.
Kyo had no recollection of what they had covered, though the moment Takuma-sensei released them for lunch, she got up and wandered to the staff room. She knocked and studied the wood of the door until it was opened by the person she'd wanted to see.
“Kouki-sensei, do you know how to get blood out of a mattress?” She asked idly, blinking tiredly up at the man.
Kouki cocked his head. “...Depends on the kind of mattress.”
“A big one,” Kyo said after a moments contemplation.
“Chances are you might have to throw it away,” Kouki replied slowly, a frown pulling on his brows. “Did you sleep last night, Kyo-kun?”
Why were so many people calling her '-kun' anyway? She was aware that you could use it for girls, if some mysterious qualities she'd never managed to figure out were met. After the rest of the children had figured out she was a girl she'd sort of figured they'd start to call her '-chan', though.
“A little,” she belatedly answered, realising Kouki was still waiting for a response.
Kouki slowly crouched down in front of her, placing one hand on her forehead. “You don't seem to be running a fever,” he muttered to himself.
“I'm fine,” she said, though her voice broke a little at the end. “Physically,” she added, because it wasn't like she had a cold or anything.
“Okay,” Kouki said, voice dry. “Wanna share?”
Kyo blinked at him for a few seconds before she cleared her throat. “I'd probably cry,” she admitted.
Kouki sighed. “I've had worse body fluids stain my clothes, kid.”
“Kaa-san's in the hospital,” Kyo finally said, feeling her breath stutter in her chest and her face screw up as her eyes burned.
“What for?” Kouki asked, almost warily, though he did put one hand on her shoulder.
It reminded her of the way the ANBU had comforted her early this morning. “She's pregnant, and she started bleeding and I couldn't wake her,” Kyo sobbed, bringing up one hand to rub irritably at her eyes. “So I need to know how to get the blood out of her mattress before tou-san comes home,” she pressed out, making the effort to meet Kouki-sensei's dark gaze. He looked all blurry from the excess water in her eyes.
The man sighed deeply, ran a hand over his hair and grimaced.
“Come on, Kyo-kun,” he said, leading her into the staff room and helping her take a seat in the chair by what she knew was his desk. “Sit. I'm going to find Takuma and tell him you're not gonna be in class for the rest of the day and tomorrow,” he explained. “Then, I'm bringing you back to the hospital, understood?”
“Okay,” Kyo sniffed, breaking out into new sobs.
Kouki ruffled her hair gently and then walked off to find her current sensei.
He was even kind enough to carry her, not saying a word of protest when Kyo clung to him all the way to the hospital and got tears and snot on his Chuunin vest.
Kyo wandered back into her mother's hospital room, crawled onto the bed and fell asleep the moment her head came to rest on Isshun's warm shoulder.
Kouki tracked down the closest nurse to get the full story before he left, but Kyo was none the wiser.
When Kou actually came back, Isshun was doing better, though she was still on bed rest.
And slowly losing her mind to the boredom, despite Kyo's best efforts to bring her plenty of reading material and various other things to do.
Holding poison lessons in the hospital was a bit of a challenge, too. Especially since Isshun wasn't supposed to have any contact with any harmful substances and Kyo refused to chance it, bringing something against the doctor's recommendation. Medic, whatever.
That didn't stop her kaa-san from giving her very informational lectures and giving her tips on new training methods.
Which brought them to this.
“Am I doing it right?” Kyo asked, sitting at the foot end of her mother's hospital bed, legs crossed and eyes closed.
Kou hummed from the chair next to the bed. “I'd say so; I can't feel anything.”
“The difficult part is to keep it up and not slip,” Isshun said, and she sounded pleased. “The surest way to stay alive as an assassin is to become a master of stealth.”
“So no one can find you?” Kyo blinked her eyes open to peer at her mother.
“People are generally not all too happy about an assassination, successful or otherwise,” Isshun mused dryly. “Making it harder for them to track you down can only be a good thing.”
“Do you think Takuma-sensei will get irritated if I practise this in school?” She asked curiously, carefully keeping part of her focus on keeping her chakra... not quite suppressed, exactly, but. Under wraps? Kyo was fairly sure she'd still be able to use her chakra like this, even though it'd be harder and would sort of blow her cover during the seconds it took to perform the jutsu itself. Other than that, it'd still leave her hidden from most people's senses.
Unless she had the misfortune to come across a sensor.
“It's not something he can complain about,” Kou dismissed her concern with a shrug. “It's training.”
“Oh, give me your hands,” Isshun said, pulling Kou's hand -which she had been holding- onto her rounded stomach.
Kyo quickly leaned forward to do the same.
“It's kicking,” Kyo observed, feeling moderately wide-eyed.
She'd never really spent any time around a pregnant woman before, so there were a lot of new experiences on all fronts right now.
There was a tiny human growing in Isshun's stomach.
“You lost your concentration, kitten,” Kou said once the baby had stopped kicking, leaning back in his chair again and squeezing his wife's fingers with a smile.
Kyo frowned when she realised he was right.
With a sigh, she concentrated on getting her chakra back under control.
It was fairly interesting to accidentally sneak up on the Academy instructors, though. She didn't do it on purpose; it just happened.
She hadn't realised how much they relied on all the children's chakra signatures to keep them all in line, and they clearly weren't used to their students suppressing them.
When Isshun went into labour, tou-san -of course- wasn't in the village.
“Was tou-san here for my birth?” She asked, partly out of interest and partly to distract her kaa-san from the pain.
“Yes,” Isshun said after a brief pause, waiting for the latest contraction to pass. “He cried when he held you for the first time.” She smiled.
“Really?” Kyo had never seen Kou cry. Thinking about it; she'd never seen either of her current parents cry.
In the Before, she'd experienced it with both her then-mother and then-father. For different reasons.
“You're almost fully dilated, Shiranui,” the midwife informed briskly, sending Kyo a brief look, but she didn't tell her to leave, like Kyo had expected.”A bit more and you can finally push.”
“Looking forward to it,” Isshun gave a strained smile, sweat beading on her forehead and the skin around her eyes was pinched with pain.
“Should I wait outside?” Kyo asked after a moment, somewhat surprised no one had thrown her out already.
“You can do as you please, sweetheart,” Isshun said, before she made a low, pained, keening noise as another contraction hit.
Sending the midwife, iryuo-nin, medic, whatever she was, a wide-eyed look, Kyo moved closer to her mother.
She didn't want to see... anything where the action was, so to speak, but she'd rather stay than leave her mum on her own.
If tou-san had been here, it would have been different, but he wasn't.
“I'll stay with you, kaa-san,” she said determinedly.
A long three hours later, there was the first cry of a newborn.
The midwife placed a tiny, red, wrinkly, slightly slimy human shaped creature on Isshun's heaving chest and Kyo got her first look at her new baby brother.
He was pretty ugly, to be honest, screaming at the top of his tiny lungs and there weren't any teeth in his mouth, which looked weird, but Kyo was fairly sure she was in love.
“Kyo, say hello to Genma,” Isshun panted tiredly, running one trembling finger over the baby's cheek. “Genma, meet your big sister.”
“Hi, Genma,” Kyo couldn't help but whisper, utterly entranced by the thing that would turn into a proper human one day.
He looked more like a squashed alien right now.
She resolved never to tell kaa-san that had been her first thought about her son.
“Do you want to hold him?” Kaa-san asked a some time later, breathing back mostly to normal, though she still looked exhausted and wrung out.
Kyo's eyes widened. “What if I drop him?” She whispered, horrified by the prospect.
Isshun smiled. “Just like your father,” she sighed amusedly. “You won't drop him, Kyo.”
“Okay,” she said, watching as her mother gathered Genma in her arms and gently handed him over to Kyo, arranging her arms just so until she held him properly.
Kyo gazed down at the baby. He'd stopped screaming now, and seemed to peer out of the small gaps his slightly swollen eyelids left him to see through.
“He's so small,” she mused, utterly transfixed.
She hadn't realised how much she'd missed her younger brother up to that point, but right now, the feeling slammed into her with all the subtlety of a kick to the stomach.
This little boy wasn't a substitute, not ever, but she felt she'd treasure him all the more because of the memories of another boy crowding at the forefront of her mind.
The age-gap was bigger, and she was growing to be a different kind of person, but she'd try to be the best big sister she could be.
She would do her best to help Genma grow up to be the amazing shinobi she knew he had every potential to be.
To do that, she had to survive, though.
She was gonna do her damn best to do so, that was for sure.
The Second Shinobi War, and the Third, she would do everything she possibly could not to die.
“I promise,” she said solemnly, staring at the unfocused slice of baby blue she could catch from beneath Genma's nearly closed eyelids.