Foxhound Chapter 2: Part 3
Hatake Kakashi had exactly 0.3 seconds to sense an incoming chakra before the most terrible wailing imaginable awoke him from a sound slumber. He raised his forehead protector from his normal eye and took in the sight of Gai’s student Rock Lee blubbering incoherently over Naruto’s comatose body while Ino stood in the doorway watching in semi-stunned bemusement. The girl looked like she’d been dragged halfway to the hospital by a lunatic. Kakashi’s eye drifted back to Lee and made the logical connection.
‘Gai, if you don’t want to have children I respect that, but that doesn’t give you the right to run around Konoha mutating innocent children into evil clones of yourself.’
Ino tried to straighten her messy hair out while glaring at the hysterical boy. She gave up when she realized Lee wouldn’t notice her even if she was waving around a neon sign that said, “Kakashi rules! Gai drools!” while screaming at the top of her lungs. The genin sighed and walked towards Kakashi’s side of the room. The copy-nin watched curiously as she lugged a large object up and set it on the side table while ignoring the wails echoing in the room. Kakashi stared at the vase and its contents before letting out a choked-off laugh.
“Ino-san, that’s an interesting selection you made,” The jounin said, his eye nearly watering with the effort to restrain his laughter.
“What can I say? A unique present for a unique personality…And fashion sense,” Ino replied with a smug look on her face. “Think he’ll like it?”
“Like it? He may ask you to marry him,” Kakashi replied, while reaching over to straighten a flower that had come loose.
Ino’s present was a large vase. It was also a heavy vase, as she’d made the mistake of filling it with water before she left her house. It wasn’t the vase though that was the source of the jounin’s mirth and the stares she’d received walking to the hospital (though Lee could take part of that credit considering he had half-carried her in his mad run to see Naruto.)
Orange. Ino had filled the vase with flowers the same gaudy, tacky orange that Naruto loved so much. She had every kind of flower imaginable in the vase with their only similarity being their color. She had wisely (and correctly) guessed that Naruto didn’t know a thing about delicate flower arrangements, so she’d just thrown something of everything in. Ino figured he’d only see the color and the thought behind it, so it wasn’t like she’d have to waste time carefully choosing and arranging the bouquet like she would with a customer. The only thing that Ino had put in it that wasn’t orange was a single, medium sized sunflower which rested at the top of the bunch. The whole thing was a terrible eyesore, with the magnolias, daises, and lilies all clashing with each other and the cheery sunflower. Nobody sane would be caught dead even looking at it.
Obviously Naruto would love it beyond words.
“Hmm, he might, but I’m not sure I could marry someone with such an awful taste in clothes,” Ino replied, swatting Kakashi’s hand away from the vase as she did some last minute arrangements. She turned to take a look at Naruto and saw Lee still crying into the boy’s bandaged chest. Sweat-drops appeared on both genin and jounin’s heads.
“Lee-san. Lee-san! LEE!” Ino yelled trying to get his attention. She glanced at Kakashi. The tall man shrugged.
“I’ve been dealing with Gai for years. This really isn’t that bad,” The copy-nin replied.
Ino grumbled something and walked over to the boy to drag him off their fellow genin. Unfortunately, Lee was a hell of a lot stronger than her and his jumpsuit made it hard to get a grip on him. She finally put him in a full-nelson from behind, all the while listening to his wailing.
“Don’t worry Naruto! Youth power will save you! Your fires of youth shall never be vanquished! Your springtime shall never wane!!”
“Dammit Lee! Get off him before you make his injuries worse!”
Ino had just managed to pull Lee a few feet form the bed (as Kakashi watched with visible amusement) when a booming voice interrupted them.
“Eternal Rival!! How can you sit by idly when your wonderful student has been cut low in the prime of his youth?!”
Lee spun like a top towards the newcomer, accidentally throwing Ino across the room.
“Oh God…” Kakashi muttered as he pulled his forehead protector down over his exposed eye again. He would avoid watching the beautiful beasts hug if it killed him. Besides, if he leaned back and acted like he was asleep, maybe they’d leave him alone.
Sensei and student were too busy embracing to a sunset background to notice the jounin. Ino wobbly got to her feet and stared at the spectacle in front of her. Was that some sort of gen-jutsu behind them?
“If you say that one more time, the ANBU will never find your bodies,” Ino growled, the malevolent fire in her eyes not related to youth power in any way. The sunset background shattered with the sound of a record being scratched. Lee and Gai separated and coughed nervously, while avoiding eye contact with the sharp-tongued blond in front of them.
“I wish I could copy that,” Kakashi commented as he raised his protector long enough to look at the rare phenomenon of Gai being quiet.
Ino only ‘humphed’ and crossed her arms.
“So he’s really that bad, huh?” Lee quietly said. Ino nodded, briefly glancing over to where Kakashi was involved in a low voiced conversation with Gai. Both genins were sitting on the couch, occasionally looking at the subject of their conversation.
“It seems like he won’t be able to fight or do anything again. Not even the Hokage can heal him,” She replied sadly.
“Oh…” Lee muttered, his head downcast. He felt for Naruto, he really did. The cold despair he’d experienced when Tsunade-sama had told him he’d have to give up being a shinobi wasn’t something he’d wish on anyone, let alone the hyper blond who’d cheered for him. Well, if Naruto believed in him when his future was uncertain, then he’d do the same in return. Besides, he’d never known anyone who could get up after being beaten down so often like the fuzzy-haired genin. It was just a matter of time.
Ino didn’t look too convinced when he voiced his opinion to her.
“Yeah, but he doesn’t have any muscles left. Even if he does get better, he’s set back years. You think he can really recover from that?” She asked skeptically.
“Of course! You should have seen him after his fight with Sasuke. He bounced back from that and he’ll bounce back from this! He’s at least as tough as me and I made a full recovery, so don’t worry too much about it Ino-san,” Lee replied, giving a more subdued version of his nice guy pose. Ino smiled without any sarcasm at the boy. Maybe she’d take back most of the nasty mental comments she’d made about him earlier.
Of course, then he had to go and ruin the mood.
“And if Naruto doesn’t make a full recovery, then I’ll do ten thousand push-ups while standing on my hands! Five for me and an extra five for him!” Lee declared.
“Yosh! And if Lee can’t do ten thousand hand-stand push-ups, then I’ll run to the Hidden Sand and back in two days!” Gai said, jumping to his feet. A large sweat-drop appeared at the side of Kakashi’s head as he tried to convince himself that he didn’t know this man.
“And if Gai-sensei can’t make the run in time, I’ll carve Naruto’s face on the Hokage Monument!” Lee yelled, also jumping to his feet and clenching his fist in triumph. Ino covered her face with her hands.
“And if Lee is arrested by the ANBU before he can finish, I’ll break him out of jail with a boulder tied to my back!” Gai announced.
“Kami-sama…” Ino muttered.