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Epidemic by NayanRoo

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Chapter notes: Well, here it is. First total AU, combining a ton of pairings, the main of which are ItaNeji and OroSasu; in the prologue you see NaruHina, too.

I had this big long speech, but instead I'll cut right to the chase and say that I owe my soul to the wonderful Pie for continuing to encourage me in writing, even when I feel like it's no good or my muse is dead or whatever. So this fic is partly dedicated to her.

Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto and I'm not using this fic to earn money, only to stay up late typing until my fingers bleed.
The nurse on duty at the St. Januarius Memorial Hospital in San Francisco was used to people coming in covered in blood, so when the worried man carrying his daughter who was coughing up and covered in the red stuff came up and asked to see a doctor, she wearily checked who was available and sent the man down the hall to see Dr. Glen, one of the many on staff at 3 AM. Without thought she moved on to the next incoming patient. There’d been a gangfight tonight, and the stupid kids were slowly dragging themselves in. Bullets and stab wounds, and gallons of blood, quickly pushed the man and his daughter from the nurse’s mind.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

They had barely had enough time to clean up the fluids from the rape victim he’d sent up to gynecology before the next patient was brought in, a little nine-year-old girl covered in blood and coughing up phlegm and blood into her hand. Quickly Dr. Walter Glen started an IV drip to keep her hydrated and got suction in to clear her lungs. In the process his wrist grazed her forehead and he yanked it back immediately, thinking he’d been burned. Cautiously he took her temperature—it was 105*F, almost deadly.

Quickly he started the procedures to bring her temperature down. The usual antibiotics, ice packs, the IV drip, and plasma to help replace the blood she’d lost. He’d get her medical records right away and make sure she got a transfusion too. Dr. Glen had wanted to be a pediatrician, but had instead gone into general practice. Still, as he watched the girl being taken up to the children’s floor ICU, he couldn’t help but feel that there was a special bond between kids and himself.

Because it was early morning, and the emergency room was busy, the sheet with tests requested for nine-year-old Stefanee Mihail were clipped under her chart and forgotten about, even by Dr. Glen. After all, accidents happened, and it was just a bad bug, something she’d eaten probably. Allergies, maybe. (By the time the tests were finally run, three weeks later, it would already be too late.)

He’d see to it tomorrow. St. Januarius had a special provision for children, and Dr. Glen knew that little Stefanee was in good hands.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

The restaurant was noisy; between the music and the patrons, it spilled out onto the sidewalk passing by.

“Nej! Hey, Neji!”

Rubbing his temples, the twenty-one-year-old business major looked up from his plate. He’d ordered a grilled cheese sandwich, and he’d been famished so he’d asked for extra fries. It had sounded so good when he’d picked it off the menu on the wall, but now he was looking at it and feeling vaguely nauseated. Hurriedly he took a sip of his water and grinned across the table at the blond.

“Sorry, I was daydreaming,” he said. “What did you say?”

“Just asking how your classes are this semester. Heard you had Danzou for Adminisration—that’s gotta be killer.”

“Yes, he’s a tough professor. But he’s an educated man and knows what he’s talking about.”

Kiba leaned in, his drink held loosely in his hand. “Heard he got thrown in jail once or twice. Fanaticism, conspiracy theory types.”

“Colleges attract those, Kiba,” Itachi shot back across the table. His arm was draped around the back of Neji’s chair, hand stroking Neji’s shoulder. The twenty-five-year-old was in his second year at UCLA’s Law School and was shaping up to be a very promising lawyer. He planned to specialize in public policy. He had also been dating Neji very seriously for three years; they’d lived together for the last eight months.

“Yeah, yeah. You get all the fruit loops in Law.”

“No more than the rest of the campus. There’s just a higher concentration of them…”

Neji tuned them out, picking at his food. The friendly banter made him relax, and he took another sip of water and ate a little more, and began to feel better.

On the ride home Itachi glanced over. “Something wrong?” he asked. “You looked ill at dinner.”

Neji shook his head, and curled his fingers around Itachi’s when they crept over, smiling reassuringly. “I’m fine.” He squeezed Itachi’s hand.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

In New York, a homeless man shivered under his covering of newspaper and cardboard. It was cold out, but he was burning with fever. It was his time, he knew, and willingly gave in.

He’d known he was sick for a long time—weeks. Four weeks, maybe a little less, and he’d started feeling weird for weeks before it had gotten serious. He was old anyway. His best blankets he’d given to a family; his clothing, to a woman who was obviously newly homeless. His stash he’d given to a buddy. All his possessions had gone, and he was ready to go to God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Humming weakly, coughing, he thought he saw a pattern in the blood spatters across the newspaper. It looked like the Son of God.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

“Naruto,” Hinata said slowly as he drove back to campus. They were both sophomores and were both in the dorms still.

“Yeah?” the blonde asked. He had been dating Neji’s cousin for about four months now. She was the best damn thing that ever happened to him.

“Did Neji look sick to you?”

“Maybe a little green. Probably just glaring at all that grease coming off his food.”

Teasingly she glanced over. “Yours was just as bad—that hamburger was as big as the plate!”

“I’m still growing,” he protested, but his dazzling smile lit up the car. “I need the food.”

Hinata’s giggles were better than the music blasting through the stereo.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0
Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, February 19th, 2006:

Girl Dies Of Mysterious Respiratory Illness
St. Januarius Officials State Last Days Were ‘horrible, painful’

Associated Press, San Francisco:
Students at Bayview Elementary School mourned the passing of their friend and fellow student Stefanee Mihail today, after she died last Tuesday of complications from a respiratory illness.

Stefanee played on recreational soccer teams and liked to go hiking in Golden Gate Park. Family members have not set an official date, saying they’re forced to wait until after her body has been autopsied and the illness that killed her determined.

“St. Januarius’ was so kind,” tearful father Nikolai told us. “They did all they could for my little girl. But we’re all going to miss her.”

Stefanee was nine years old. Her birthday was just five weeks away.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Neji gasped, clutching the sheets in his hands and moaning as Itachi’s thrusts hit his prostate over and over again. All nausea, all other thoughts were nothing when his lover was buried so deep in him he could feel each thrust in his throat, when Itachi’s lips found his and they kissed so hard he bruised.

“Ah—god!” he groaned, squirming again as Itachi’s fingers wormed under him and stroked his nipples, rolling them around, running his nails over them, teasing them until each touch shot straight to Neji’s groin and he begged for Itachi to finish him.

“Do I tease you?” his lover whispered in his ear. Thrashing his head around, Neji thought the answer to that was clear and pushed back hard, asking for more, for harder…

The Uchiha thought there was nothing more beautiful in the world than seeing his lover spread across the sheets, long hair trailing and his pale grey eyes sparkling in the light. Pulling a hand away from tormenting his lover’s nipples, Itachi ran a finger down Neji’s spine and smirked when the younger man shivered and twisted half onto his side, one hand going down to his leaking cock to help himself. Reaching past Neji’s hip, he found the other’s hand and wrapped around and over it, his added pressure sending the normally reserved Hyuuga skyrocketing. His orgasm came in long, low moans that sounded vaguely like Itachi’s name—and in delicious waves of muscle contractions along the walls of his passage, pulling Itachi over the edge as well.

After he collapsed and lay panting a moment, reveling in his glow, Itachi pulled out and grabbed a towel off the floor, cleaning himself up with it after removing the condom and throwing it away. And despite his protests, Neji let Itachi clean him up as well, stroking the older man’s arm and chest. Tossing the towel into the hamper, Itachi rolled back over and spooned against Neji’s back, wrapping an arm protectively over him. Neji pulled the blankets up around them and sighed. The last three years had been good for them and good to them; they’d met by chance at the food court on campus and had gone out on a date that weekend, and while things weren’t perfect they didn’t expect it to be. They were a gay couple in a straight man’s world, closely knit with other gay couples, and they had their own problems in addition to those of any straight couple.

Itachi’s fingers drifted down to Neji’s hand, lacing together with his own. Neji nestled against him and smiled as he fell asleep, Itachi whispering that he loved only Neji in his ear.

0o0o0o0o0o0o0

Blog Entry: Some Things to think About…
Posted by: in_sight
11:34 PM, 2006-21-2:

Human life is fragile. Every minute of every day, someone breaks a bone. Every year, over 2.3 million people die in the United States alone, and many more are chronically ill. Some have spent years in the hospital, waiting for a cure or a donor and desperately clinging to life. Some have lost the will to live and are simply robots fed by machines, empty of all perception of life and the world around them.

Diseases are fragile as well, although they do not seem that way. Heat kills them; thus, the body produces a fever when one becomes ill enough. Extreme cold kills them; they can be expelled from the body via vomiting, coughing, sneezing, running nose or eyes, or any number of means that the body has for flushing itself and intruders out. The human body might be fragile, but so are the things that prey upon it. All diseases have a cure; all cures can be found in a lifetime.

Hope, I’ve found, is the one thing that can help those who are ill pull through. I’ve seen and heard of cases where the patient wasn’t expected to recover, but through the power of prayer and hopes of the family they were able to make a full recovery. Love, too, can bring people together and call souls back out of the darkness. A love between partners, a love between doctor and their patients that they’re charged with, a love between friends—without love, the world don’t work. That little girl that died in SF the other day? Her whole family was rooting for her, but even though she didn’t make it she’s gonna go to heaven and be with Jesus and all the Saints.

Speakin’ of the Saints, I’ve gotta tell ya—they’re havin’ a terrible year…
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