tale of galant jiraiya
Join Date: Oct 2008
Thanked 107 Times in 62 Posts
Re: The Truth of the Matter
Hiruzen Sarutobi, Third reigning Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, stood outside the hospital room of the most troublesome boy the village had ever seen and wondered how long he would be able to use Naruto’s sickness as an excuse to escape the meeting with the council elders. He felt a little guilty about it, especially since he was honestly concerned with the young orphan’s health. Hallucinations were not something to take lightly, even when they weren’t about murderous, secret demon spirits. Still, he really wasn’t looking forward to long drawn out ‘discussions’ about how the village could be run much better if he would just listen to their suggestions. Today they would be especially worried as to whether the Law of Silence had been broken, and if so by whom and would they have to enforce the punishment for the first time in five and a half years.
The Hokage heaved a deep sigh, hoping his burdens would fly away with it. Sadly this was not to be the case.
“Are you all right, sir?” asked a soft, kind voice from behind. Sarutobi turned to face Iruka standing in the doorway with a concerned look on his face. He realized that he probably didn’t look like the model of the strong, confident leader but more like an old, weary man. To be honest he had begun to feel that way more and more, but Iruka was not someone to whom he could confide this in and so he worked to mold his face into a mask.
“I’m fine, thank you for your concern. How is he doing?”
The chuunin shook his head. “He’s asleep. They still have him sedated. It’s not surprising considering how hysterical he was, but the amount they have to push through his body is insane. The… his metabolism seems to filter it very quickly and he wakes up after only a few minutes on an adult dosage.” Iruka looked through the small window in the door to the small form lying motionless on the bed. “I’m surprised he got this sick without anyone noticing. I mean, you think we would have seen the signs, something that would have given a hint of what was happening.”
“Actually, Iruka-san, it’s really not that surprising at all.”
The two shinobi turned to face the newcomer as he walked toward them down the hall.
“Doctor Miyake,” Sarutobi greeted the man with a nod of his head. Miyake had been a shinobi for twenty years and a medical ninja for seven of those, but had chosen to give up that career path for the much needed position of civilian doctor. Civilian doctors took care of injuries for those who were not currently an official ninja and illnesses caused by anything non-mission related. Frankly there weren’t enough of them, medical personnel trained in more than just major internal injuries, missing limbs and field surgery, but theirs was a community centered around a group of people whose main source of income required them to be in peak condition, and therefore they were vigilant in keeping themselves from getting too sick. This meant the supporting members of the village—shopkeepers, housewives, maintenance men—generally got shafted when it came to things like medical care and schooling, but it would be a while before any reform would happen. Until then civilian doctors and nurses would have to deal with being understaffed and overwhelmed.
Miyake had taken over the case after the first time Naruto had ripped his stitches and random chance had brought them together. The gray-haired doctor had been horrified to discover that the blonde’s sutures had been improperly done up, which was apparently part of the reason they had come apart. He had requested to be the primary doctor for the boy’s case from then on and Sarutobi had jumped at the chance to put him under the care of someone who would respect Naruto as a patient rather than see him as a nuisance.
“Hokage-sama, I’m glad you’re here. I was planning on notifying you anyway, but this saves us both time.”
“Is it that bad?”
Miyake shook his head, “No, no. Naruto is doing much better now that he’s been getting treatment. It’s just…because of…circumstances…well let’s just say that Naruto is somewhat of a miracle child.”
The two men looked at the white-coated man in confusion. “Care to elaborate Doctor?”
“Naruto is an amazing patient, simply for the amount of time it takes his body to heal and recover from injuries. Surface scratches and abrasions that might take weeks to disappear for you and I only take a couple days at most for him. This is obviously due to—“ Miyake hesitated, the instinct to avoid the taboo words kicking in, but with a nod from the Hokage he continued. “It’s obviously due to the…source of the incredible amount of chakra he has residing inside of him. Because of the seal, that healing process is much slower than it could be. Theoretically, if the seal were to ever crack, even just a little, his healing period could be essentially instantaneous. However, even just the small amount of ability he has now makes it seem that his body is generally stronger than it actually is.”
“Then are you saying that if things have gotten this bad, Naruto’s illness is more complicated than it looks?” the Hokage questioned becoming a little impatient with the drawn out explanation.
“Yes and no. Actually, the cause is quite simple,” the doctor answered. “Infection of the area around his arm wound. When the nurse took off his bandages to redo them, she found the site severely red and swollen, and some pus. Classic infection.”
“What?” Iruka started, “What are you talking about? I saw his arm just the other day when the bandages came off. It was perfectly fine then.”
“I imagine you didn’t have him clean it off though,” the gray-haired man pointed out.
“Well…no, I had to get the kids inside for their next class. I sent him to the infirmary.”
“Nurse Hidaka is normally a very kind woman and very good at her job. Unfortunately, I think you are both aware of the attitude of many villagers towards my patient. I am ashamed to admit that many of my colleagues would not hesitate to abandon their oath when it comes to him,” Miyake said sadly. “She was probably very quick to get him bandaged up and out of her sight. I would not be surprised if she didn’t bother to disinfect the wound first. And infections are tricky things. Most of the time they are slow acting and can be stopped in their first stages by anyone who is paying attention. Naruto is unlucky enough to have caught one of the nastier bugs out there. It’s rare, but it can take down a grown adult incredibly fast and a child even faster unless it’s caught early on and treated.”
The gray-haired doctor hesitated as if he had more to say but was reluctant to admit it.
“Would it be too much to hope that Naruto’s illness was caught in time?” Sarutobi verbally prodded the man along.
“The truth is, from what I can tell from the test results, the boy should be dead by now. The infection itself isn’t what causes problems; it’s the side effects from the person’s body trying to fight it off. Your body temperature can only get so high before it starts to become more harmful than helpful. The readings we were getting from Naruto, hallucinations should have been the least of his problems. How he made it to the academy from his apartment I’ll never understand. He’s lucky his brain hasn’t melted in his skull, let alone the fact that he should have been going through severe seizures and might suffer from brain damage.”
At this news Iruka suddenly looked heartbroken, to the surprise of the Hokage. He had thought the chuunin’s visit to the young troublemaker was purely out of the compassion that Iruka showed all of his students, regardless of how they were connected from the past. It appeared that Naruto had managed to worm his way into the heart of someone other than himself, which filled the old village leader with a sudden wave of relief and joy despite the gravity of the news.
“He’ll be crushed. He works so hard already just to pass most of his schoolwork. I don’t think his grades can take anymore set backs.”
“Don’t count him out just yet, young man,” Miyake scolded. “Haven’t I already said he’s something of a miracle child? He’s alive, and that in and of itself is incredible. It’s my personal opinion—not that I can ever prove this of course—that the Kyuubi was using its influence to heal Naruto as much as it could. Probably why he was hallucinating the monster even when he shouldn’t know anything about it. It might not have been able to affect the infection directly, which is why Naruto got so sick, but it could manage the after affects of the body’s own defense system to keep the boy from dying. A self-preservation instinct, if I remember my seal work right. When the boy’s life ends, so does the Kyuubi’s. This might have extended to the boy’s brain cells, although we can’t be sure until he wakes up. In essence, don’t be surprised if his grades drop a little, but it wouldn’t be too much to hope that they won’t also.”
This raised Iruka’s spirits somewhat. He offered a word of appreciation for the explanation and left to go tend to his piles of paperwork that needed grading.
Sandaime, however, stayed behind with one last concern.
“You really think Naruto’s luck was the Kyuubi’s doing? You’ve said it before, that wound on his arm will take a while to heal. Would it really be able to correct that much damage to the rest of his body in such a short amount of time without breaking the seal?”