The red string was striking, bright. If he looks closely, Juugo thinks he sees some gold threads woven throughout. That ought to make his little friend happy; a striking string in a striking nest and mating season almost here.
“The birds again?”
Stepping into the room, Haruno-sensei peers over the clipboard with his charts on it.
“He’s added something special to the nest today.”
“We can’t open up the window, Juugo-san,” She says, anticipating his question. Its all part of a ritual by now. “You are a known enemy of the Leaf and one-time member of the Akatsuki. Even if you are in no shape to make an escape attempt, we can’t rule out someone trying to assassinate you.”
Logical enough, he knows. Still, it would be nice to talk to the birds. Birds were very calming creatures. Soft though; you needed a gentle touch.
“How did it go?”
Haruno-sensei slips a stethoscope over her ears and under his shirt. The wound to the chest was bad, but healing. He could breathe easier. With the curse seal it would’ve healed faster. Though, looking back at the nest, which had been so seemingly-quickly built, maybe he’d been here even longer than he realized. The medicines they gave him to calm the seal sometimes made time slip by in uneven paces. He was always forgetting to remember that.
“Your heart rate’s up. Do you really want to be discussing this while we’re in the middle of your daily exams? Its gonna through off things, I think.”
No, he thinks, irritability suddenly shooting through him. I only asked already!
“I’d like to know what Sasuke said.”
She blushes, and looks away.
“I shouldn’t have told you about that.”
But you did, he thinks. You did tell me about Sasuke, about his waking and his sleeping and his failing sight. You told me about his brothers eyes sitting in a jar, ready to be of use.
The chemicals tingle going in, slightly colder than his bloodstream. He hadn’t even seen her whip out the needle, though he watches her now move with methodic precision in getting rid of the syringe in a small box labeled “sharps.”
“Thisss why-“ His tongue always feels thick after their injections, and he slurs awfully. “You don’ let me use m’seal?”
“You know the answer to that.”
Haruno-sensei moves over to the small counter, moving tools around. She never picks one up, not really, just enough to move one, then place it down, and then move another. Haruno-sensei’d be pretty, he thinks, if he wasn’t friends with Karin. Supposedly this woman, so small and intense, knew Sasuke long ago. Though he doesn’t really understand women (doesn’t really understand people), he thinks Karin might take offense at the thought that any other women Sasuke knows are pretty.
Speaking of Karin…
“Why can’ Karin heal me?”
Haruno-sensei turns around and looks sadly at him.
“Do you remember what I told you?”
“Not what she- Fine! What did she say?”
Juugo remembers then- not just what Karin said or what Haruno-sensei said, though he remembers that too- something about charka levels and oaths from Karin, and something about hygiene from the healers. He remembers more that they- Haruno-sensei and he-have had this conversation before-other times after they’d given him the needle- and that it always makes his healer angry, which in turn makes him rather angry too-
Maybe he just won’t ask about that then.
“Ho’re thhey?” he asks instead. He’s only seen Karin and Suigetsu once, and Sasuke not at all. The two had fought something terrible while they were because- It was not their usual bickering, he remembers. Karin had said Sasuke tried to kill her. No. That wasn’t right. She’d said he had killed her and only because of Haruno-sensei had she lived.
Sasuke was all he had of Kimimaro
.Would Kimimaro do that? Hard to say. He’d been a friend to Juugo and killed when Orochimaru said and he’d died in a cell far from here. Hard to say what a man would have done when he hadn’t been given the chance.
“Wha’ did ‘e say ?”
She sighs, puts down the medical tool in her hand and instead makes the hand-signs she’s said help her run other tests on him.
“What did who say?” she says, but her heart’s not in it. She adverts her eyes and Juugo stares at her shoulder instead. The red of her shirt isn’t quite the red in the nest. He reaches out and grabs that shoulder, moves his hand down over her arm to grip short fingers beneath his own. Her hands really are very small. They would seem even smaller if he was in cursed seal mode.
It’s hard to get up anger at that thought. The medicine’s doing his work and he can’t find fault in that. Every things still feels muzzy though.
“He’s all I have left of Kimimaro,” he says.
Haruno-sensei sits down at that. She pulls her fingers away, rubs one hand in the other as if to get blood flowing again, as if it is a task that takes all her concentration. Tentatively, his hand goes to her head instead, brushing across her crown. A soft touch is needed, he thinks.
“We told him today that we’d found his brother’s eyes. He- he could use them you know. He doesn’t have to be blind.”
“Naruto-kun and Kakashi-sensei said it has to be his choice. Why wouldn’t that be his choice though?” She pauses, voice rough. “He hasn’t made his choice. Isn’t this hesitation the same as choosing no though?”
She gets up, walks towards the door with short, choppy steps, and turns around only at the last.
“He’s all I have left of Sasuke,” she explains, hands out in half a gesture of apology. “Everything looks normal here, Juugo-san. I’ll be back tomorrow. As always.”
He looks down at his hand. Several pink strands are tangled there. The bird would have liked it for his nest, but there is the window. It remains shut. So he watches his opened doorway instead.