“Hokage-sama, they’ve penetrated his lungs!” One of her assistants shouted, leaning over the bloody, gaping mess that was his torso. “I fucking know! I’m trying to get them all out of his heart before he bleeds out and his heart stops!” She replied, shouting in anger as she glanced up at the monitor and seeing that his heart rate was down by another ten points.
She was astonished that he survived even though the fragments had hit his heart. They hadn’t gone inside any of the ventricles, but they did puncture through, acting as plugs so the blood didn’t come through. As soon as she pulled one out, she used a small amount of chakra to heal the tiny breach.“For Godsakes! Control that bleeding! Get it down! If he loses too much blood there won’t be enough time for a transfusion!”
She hadn’t been this flustered over a surgery since…since Dan.
“Hokage-sama, the air is leaking out of his lungs as fast as the tube is pumping it in!” The assissant yelled again.
Tsunade glared furiously up at him and then reached over, grabbed another set of tweezers from the table and threw them at him.
“Well fucking take care of it! Do I constantly have to think for you?! Get them out and get the wounds closed up! If his goddamn heart stops we can’t fucking resuscitate him!”
The assisstant nodded and began working on his lungs.
“What the hell hit him?!” She asked, still vigorously picking out scrap metal, cursing at the tens more that riddled his heart.
“They think it was a bomb of some sort. He was out solo. If that woman hadn’t seen the explosion we would’ve never known he was out there.” Someone replied, but she didn’t know who, as her focus never left her task.
Tsunade sighed heavily.
“We can’t lose him.” She said, he eyes on her task. “I promised. I promised her I wouldn’t lose him.”
Tears began to well in her eyes as his heart rate dropped by an alarming twenty points. And the beeping machine sounded slower.
To everyone’s horror, his eyes flew open.
“Wha-?! Who’s on anesthetics!!” She shouted, looking over at the tech.
“Its still in his system!” She told her Hokage, “I…There’s no way he should be awake!”
Tsunade looked back to him as he lifted his arm and pulled the tube from his throat. And everyone around him stood motionless from utter shock.
“I want…t-see..er.” He choked out almost inaudibly.
“I…” Tsunade began, and straightened, taking a deep breath and setting her tools down on the table, her hands and forearms covered in his blood.
She nodded to the woman at her side and she hurried out into the hall.
The tears flowed freely as she pulled a white linen over his massacred chest, the blood quickly leaking through.
His wife burst into the room, three dark haired children at her side, and her eyes widened at the amount of blood. She glanced wide-eyed over at Tsunade.
“Take them outside.” She said, letting her own tears spill over at the state of her husband. And the end she knew was coming.
The woman who was sent to get her, motioned for the three young children, asking them to follow her to the hall.
“But Mommy, what about daddy?” The little girl asked, tugging at her mothers robe. “Is he gonna be okay?”
The woman leaned down, and emitted a loud sob before forcing a smile.
“Honey daddy’s gonna go away for a while. And right now, he wants you to follow the nice lady.” She told her daughter.
The little girl nodded, and took the nurses hand before looking up at the table. A realization crossed her eyes and she lifted her hand up, touching her father’s. “I love you daddy.” She said, and then walked through the door with the nurse.
“Sweet heart?” She asked, her voice wavering as she leaned over the surgical table so that he could see her without turning his head.
Instantly the pained look on his face disappeared and was replaced by a smile.
“Hey.” He whispered.
“What do you think you’re doing waking up in the middle of surgery?” She asked, running her fingers through his hair. “You nearly gave everyone in here a heart attack.” She told him, attempting to hold her composure.
“I’m not going to make it love.” He said.
Her face distorted with sadness and more tears came in torrents as she glanced down at his covered chest.
“It doesn’t hurt.” He said, looking down at the blood-soaked sheet.
“I…. just can’t… breathe very well.”
“I…let them put you back under. Everything’s going to be alright, you’ll see.” His wife replied, and he shook his head.
“I can feel it. Even they do put me back under, I won’t make it through the rest. I can’t hold on for very much longer.” He said, his voice barely above a whisper.
“You can’t leave us now. Promise me you won’t. The kids, they need their father and I need my husband. It’s too soon. Years and years too soon.”
“I just…I wish so much that I could but I can’t. It’s too late.”
He reached up and put his hand to the side of her face, and pulling her down closer.
“I love you so much. Who knows what would’ve happened if you had never come along. You changed my life. God… I love you, and I never want you to forget that. The kids, tell them I love them more then anything and I’ll see them soon. You all are my life everything I fought for and everything I’m dying for. That bomb I intercepted was heading straight for Konoha, and I’m lucky for these last few moments.”
His distraught wife let out low sobs at her husbands words, tears staining her face.
“Don’t cry.” He said, weakly wiping her tears away, but they only kept coming.
“These last ten years have been the best of my life and I’m dying knowing that I’m leaving something wonderful behind.”
She clung to harder as she felt his body stiffen and his face crunched up in pain.
“I’m almost there. My limits coming.” He said, opening his eyes and scanning the ceiling, his heart rate lowering and his breath coming shorter.
She was silent, content to just look at him for as long as she could before he went.
“Tell the boys to mind themselves, and don’t let Satomi have any cookies before bed. I know how she likes to sneak them.”
At hearing this, she choked up again, and nodded. “I will. Be nice up there…” She didn’t know what else to say, the sobs blocked anymore words.
He closed his eyes and nodded before reopening them.
He inhaled sharply and his eyes widened.
She lowered her head, her body shaking with sobs.
“Promise me something before you go.” She said, looking up at him.
“Don’t be late for dinner.” She barely got out. It was something she said to him every time he left for a mission.
A small smile found his lips and tears escaped his eyes as he nodded and pulled her as close as he could.
She cried silently as she heard the last breath leave his body. “I love you.” Was whispered against her lips and his body went limp.
“No…no, no.” She cried softly, the blood coming through the thin linen sheet and staining her hands pink. “It’s not supposed to…this isn’t how it’s supposed to be. He promised me he wouldn’t…”
Tsunade shook her head as tears brimmed in her eyes. “I’m so sorry Takaira. We did absolutely everything we could. If he hadn’t woken up…”
“Always so stubborn….it was good for him though, his stubbornness. It made him a world class ninja.” Takaira whispered, her throat probably sore from the harsh sobs that racked her body.
Silence fell between them as Tsunade gazed out the window with disappointment and remorse and Takaira gazed at her husband in love and agony. “The children will want to know when he’s coming home and I….” Another large, loud sob escaped her mouth and she put her head in her hands.
“And I don’t know what I’m going to tell them!”
Tsunade scowled when a temp nurse appeared at the door, a curious expression on her face and upon seeing the former-Godaime’s glare, she scurried off out of sight.
“Takaira-san, tell them the truth. I know they can handle it. They need to know that their father died a heroic death for his village. They’ll be carving his name into the stone early tomorrow morning. He saved millions of lives at the sacrifice of his own Takaira-san.”
“I know and I’m proud. But this pain, this void is so much more. You can’t understand what we were to each other. The kind of bond we had. Nobody shared my pain like he did, nobody related and understood me like he did. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say he was my everything.” Takaira told her in that same saddened whisper, tears still streaming down her face.
“I knew he would die, but I never expected it to be so soon. We were married only ten years ago, it feels like time has escaped me. My children are too young to go on without their father. Little Satomi starts at the academy tomorrow and Matsuyo and Daisuke graduate…He was so proud, and now…he’ll never see them grow up.”
Tsunade’s tongue pressed against her teeth longing to say something comforting but she could not find the words. Instead she fell silent and let Takaira mourn. She shook her head again and put a hand on her forehead. If only the bastard hadn’t woken up. She had never been particularly fond of him when he returned to the village in surrender after the death of his brother, but his years in Konoha with Takaira had changed him drastically. There were still elements about him that never changed when he was by himself or around other ninja. He was still the cold, shuttered, distant person he had always been, but when they were together, him and Takaira, there was a glow to him, a light in his eyes. Any fool could see that he was a changed man when they were seen strolling the streets together always hand in hand.
It had taken a long while and many successful missions before the village accepted him again, and eventually grew to honor and revere him. He had restored his clan’s former glory, well him and Takaira, who had become the head of Interrogation when Ibiki invested in a much-needed retirement. There was even talk about Sasuke or Takaira becoming Hokage, but neither could ever take that away from Naruto. Hokage was his title, and when Sasuke and Takaira were asked they completely refused, saying it was ludicrous and how dare they even consider someone else besides Naruto.
The blonde prankster, who looked so much like his father the Yondaime, it was hard to tell the difference, had tears in his eyes when they had refused the title and he embraced them both, thanking them with the utmost sincerity.
She thought of all the sacrifices people had made for the well being of the ninja world as she looked at Sasuke’s peaceful body. He had died for this village, for his wife and for his children and there was no doubt in her mind that he would’ve done it over again.
Here was a man that had betrayed his homeland and destroyed his village twice. Here was a man that had enslaved the forbidden arts and dark chakra using them to embark on a conquest of power and hatred….here was a man who did every duty imaginable, and came to be loved and respected by all who lived in this village. He paid the ultimate price for the village he grew to love.
The same name that the people had despised, had jeered about, sneered at and spat on was being carved into the very stone that held the memories of honored Shinobi that gave their all for their village and who were honored above all others. A name that was as famous as each of the Hokage, a name that would never be forgotten.