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Hear the Silence

Chapter Text

Arriving at the hospital felt surreal.

It was bright and noisy and there were people everywhere.

Kyo couldn't summon up the energy to do more than follow orders and stick close to Kisaki and sensei.

The ANBU captain remained the whole time, though she was fairly sure he'd sent his team back to the gates as soon as they'd gotten the closest medic's attention.

Someone grabbed Katsurou and made to lift him over onto a stretcher someone had rolled up to them.

Kisaki bared her teeth with a wild, uncontrolled roar of a growl, snapping after the nurse or medic or whatever they were.

“No,” Kyo said firmly, trying to place her hand on the ninken's head but missing and ending up slapping her ear. “Stop it,” she added. “They're helping.”

Kisaki huffed, gave the hospital staff a dark, warning glower with her teeth bared, before she whined sadly and pressed her face into Kyo's stomach.

She could feel the dog stagger when Katsurou's weight was lifted off her back.

In the electric light of the hospital room they'd somehow ended up in -Kyo couldn't quite remember getting there- she noticed the dried blood staining Kisaki's fur a rusty brown from her mouth down the front of her chest in stiff, sticky spikes. There was a lot of dirt, too.

It distantly made her wonder what she herself looked like.

She idly watched the frantic medics work on Katsurou, too tired to so much as find a place to sit.

“Genin,” a sharp, no-nonsense voice said, managing to pull Kyo's gaze away from the bed-stretcher-thing sensei was laid out on. “Report.”

Kyo took in the sight of the stern-faced man with greying dark-blond hair entirely different from sensei's before her, trying to make her mind kick back into gear.

The fingers of her left hand curled into Kisaki's fur.

“Back from a courier run to the southern Kawa border,” she managed after a beat of stretching silence.

“And the scrolls?” The Jounin asked, his dark eyes assessing her, taking in every detail and it made her wonder what it was he saw.

“Got them,” Kyo returned lamely.

“Uncompromised?” The Jounin pressed impatiently, frowning at her.

Kyo rationally knew this was very important. The border stations were manned by and home base to dozens of people at all times, and it was vital for Konoha's defences that their enemies didn't get the information moving back and forth between them and command.

“Yeah,” she managed, blinking blankly at the Jounin.

“Will you give them to me?” The Jounin asked.

“Should I?” Kyo wondered stupidly. Wasn't she supposed to leave them at the appropriate desk in the Hokage tower?

She glanced at the ANBU captain, who gave a short nod.

“Okay,” she mumbled dazedly.

It was pretty tricky to get them out of her poison pack with just her left hand, though it probably had more to do with how exhausted she was. When she withdrew the first one, a needle came along with it, having stabbed into her ring-finger and gotten stuck in her skin.

Kyo absently brought her hand up to her mouth, pulled the needle out with her teeth and then handed the first scroll over. Followed by the remaining four.

“Do you want these as well?” She asked numbly, needle dangling from her lips, pulling the first of the black and red sealing scrolls from one of her pockets.

Kyo was pretty out of it, but she did notice when the Jounin and the ANBU both focused the full scope of their attentions on her, at the same time.

It was enough to make her tense, prompting Kisaki to let out a soft, warning growl in response.

“...how many have you got?” The Jounin asked.

She wasn't clear-headed enough to actually count right now, so Kyo just held out the first one until the Jounin took it. She slowly pulled the rest of them from the various pockets she'd stored them in.

“Five,” she managed once she'd already handed all of them over. It was a bit belated, because the Jounin had no doubt already counted them himself, but Kyo still answered his question. “They're from Suna,” she added, because that felt like it might be important.

Maybe.

When the Jounin turned his gaze back on her, it was a heavy, assessing thing. “And the rest of your team?”

Kyo re-buried her fingers in Kisaki's fur and tightened her hold until her knuckles hurt from the strain. “I have them,” she whispered.

The Jounin's gaze softened. “I will take proper care of them,” he promised solemnly.

Hesitating, Kyo couldn't so much as blink, staring intently up at the unfamiliar Jounin. A stranger.

She wished Katsurou-sensei was awake to tell her what to do.

Her fingers trembled so much she fumbled twice before she managed to pull the first black and gold scroll from her clothes.

It took several seconds before she managed to unclench her fingers from around it.

The Jounin took it with obvious care, waiting patiently for her to withdraw the other one.

“I will make sure they're processed quickly before being returned to their families.”

“Okay,” Kyo whispered, swallowing dryly a few times.

She and Kisaki watched as the Jounin tucked away the two black and gold scrolls into his vest with gentle care, and then handed the black and red scrolls to the ANBU captain.

The masked black-ops shinobi disappeared in a shunshin at a brisk hand-sign from the Jounin.

“Now, I need to ask you for a report,” he said calmly, arranging his body language into something more soothing, relaxed and reassuring. “Start from when you left the village two days ago.”

Kyo gave a stiff nod and haltingly launched into the task.

It was pretty easy, until she reached the part where they'd left the border station.

“Three hours after that, we ran into an ambush,” she said, swallowing thickly and taking a trembling breath. “They'd rigged explosive tags with poison.” Or at least that was the closest she could get to describing it right now.

The Jounin sighed.

She summarized the fight and the following actions quickly and briefly, to the best of her abilities. There wasn't really much to say about the trek back to Konoha, not even the parts she could remember clearly.

“Excuse me, Senju-dono, but we need to check over the Genin now,” one of the medics said sharply, not even playing at politeness as he all but pushed the Jounin out of his away.

Kyo blinked.

“What's your name?” The medic continued by asking, voice far kinder.

“...Shiranui Kyo.” Kyo stared at the white-haired medic now crouched in front of her. After a brief hesitation, she added her registration number without prompting.

“And how old are you, Kyo?” The medic asked next.

“Eight.”

“Do you have any injuries that you know of?” He asked after he'd checked her pupils.

Kyo blinked a little. “My arm's broken,” she finally said. She'd made sure to keep the appendage motionless by her side for hours now, and hadn't really though about it since at least before the sun had set.

“I need to wash all this blood off to examine you properly,” he continued in a mutter. “I can't even see your skin.”

Kyo blinked.

Blood...?

For the first time since leaving on this mission, Kyo took a moment to look down on herself.

Her shirt was stiff with dried blood, splattered generously down her front and she could only assume the same could be said about her face. Her arms, too, were covered in blood, dirt and what looked like moss and bark residue.

“I'm gonna ask that you stand still while I cut your shirt off, okay?” The medic asked gently, pulling a pair of scissors from a pocket when Kyo nodded.

She watched tiredly as he proceeded to cut through the crusty material until he could peel it away to reveal blood smeared skin and the mesh-shirt underneath.

With a frown, he did something she'd never come across before that resulted in her mesh-shirt easily falling off her slight frame.

Had he pulled a pin out of it somewhere, or what?

“This will be a bit cold,” he warned, before he accepted a bowl with water and a sponge from a nurse and proceeded to quickly wipe her down. Starting at her face, moving down her throat and chest. Leaving tan skin and livid bruises in its wake.

Nudging her to step away from the wall, he then moved around to get at her back.

The sponge sliding over her spine was enough to make her hiss and flinch away.

The water made it feel like her back was on fire.

“Badly bruised,” the medic muttered under his breath, poking and prodding a bit, but now that she was prepared for it, she grit her teeth and managed to remain still. “Stand perfectly still,” he ordered and placed a hand flat against her back.

It hurt, but not as bad as the sponge had.

She felt the foreign chakra enter her system and it nearly made her twitch.

Not even close to as comforting as sensei's chakra, it slowly eased the pain until it was a more manageable pulsing ache.

“There. Now, let's take a look at that arm,” he said briskly, moving back around to her front and giving her an expectant look.

Kyo took a deep breath, buried her fingers in Kisaki's fur, braced herself and slowly held out her right arm.

It hurt enough she almost cried out, and her eyes welled up with liquid.

The medic wiped off the dirt and grime quickly and efficiently, making the swelling more noticeable and it looked like her forearm was just one big bruise.

It hurt so much, Kyo didn't know what to do with herself.

Taking slow, deep breaths, she stared fixedly at Katsurou-sensei's unconscious body while the medic did his examination.

“The bones have ground against each other a bit too much for a quick fix,” the man finally said, leaning back and peering almost curiously at Kyo. “How long ago would you say this break happened?”

“This-” she had to pause to clear her throat, “this morning.”

“Make that yesterday morning.” The medic frowned. “This is going to hurt, I'm afraid. Ieda!”

One of the nurses came striding over and Kyo didn't fight them when they positioned her, the woman holding her shoulder and elbow in place, stabilising her arm as well as she could.

Then, before she could brace herself, the medic pulled.

Kyo almost threw up, and she swayed on her feet, but it was over with quickly.

She was so shaky afterwards she barely managed to remain on her feet, and she hardly noticed when the two medical professionals continued working on her arm.

She was so dazed she didn't even notice when they were done.

“Kid doin' okay?” The Senju Jounin asked off to the side.

“I've had grown men cry during the setting of a broken bone not five hours old,” the medic said wryly. “Give him a moment.”

“Ah, Yakushi-sensei, Shiranui Kyo's medical file,” another nurse said, handing the medic a brown folder.

The medic, Yakushi, accepted it and flipped it open. He blinked and glanced at Kyo, who slowly blinked back. “Forgive me, her,” he corrected himself with a bemused expression.

“Sensei?” Kyo asked, speaking up for the first time in who knew how long, drawing the two men's attention.

“His condition is critical, but I never knew Katsurou to be a man who gives up without a fight,” Yakushi said, flicking her a glance before he returned to reading through her medical file. “Do we know what poison is in his system, yet?” He tossed at one of the other medics working on Katsurou.

Kyo dug a hand into her poison pack and withdrew one of her containers. “It was this one,” she said, holding it out towards the medic, her right arm cradled to her stomach. “it's got a very distinctive taste,” she added at the blank look, feeling defensive at the vague sense of disbelief she got from the medic.

“This is poison? You carry poison with you on missions?” He asked slowly, gingerly accepting the small jar.

“I'm a poison specialist,” Kyo returned flatly, feeling like she had finally run out of energy.

She was out. This was it.

Her reserves were empty.

Having handed over what might just give Katsurou that one, small thing that could give him an advantage, Kyo staggered back into a warm, solid wall of fur and muscle.

Kisaki caught her and made sure she didn't collapse to the floor.

“Bring another stretcher!” She heard someone call as if from a great distance, the noise and activity around her slowly fading as Kyo's body shut down for some sorely needed rest.

-x-x-x-