With acute pain, start with easy activities like walking…
When Iruka took off in search of Naruto— he didn’t expect to save the young boy from a fuma shuriken. Nor did he think he would suffer a major injury that left him in the hospital for days. What he did except was to be discharged early with a bottle of painkillers, (Jounin were given priority to non-combative Chunin after all).
Iruka sat in the waiting room of the hospital, swiveling his head in searching for his longtime friend. Anko was in charge of taking him home from the hospital, he wasn’t allowed to leave alone.
“Yo Sensei” Iruka turned his head to the grey-haired Jounin. “Kakashi-San what brings you here, You’re not injured are you?”
Kakashi chuckled and waved Iruka’s concerns away, “Ma I’m fine Sensei, I’m here to escort you home, Anko won’t make it.”
Iruka rolled his eyes and braced his arm on the chair to get up, “let me guess, she ditched me for the flavor of the week”. Kakashi wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him to his feet. “Afraid so Sensei, you’re stuck with me” giving Iruka an eye smile.
Iruka gave silent thanks and smiled at the other man, “I appreciate you helping me, in my state, I wouldn’t be able to take two steps by myself. I don’t know how I’m going to keep up with my students once I get back to teaching.”
Kakashi tightened his arm around Iruka “let’s get going then.”
Since the accident, the Chunin was bedridden with his diligent Bed-nurse (Naruto) by his side. With severe scoldings as punishment for getting out of bed and not “resting Iruka-Sensei, you need to rest!” The teacher was happy to sleep away the ache on his back.
With Kakashi’s support, Iruka took tentative steps forward, keeping his posture straight. “You know Kakashi-San this might not be so ba—“ Iruka cried as he felt a sharp pain radiate from his injury. Panting hard he glanced up and closed his eyes, missing Kakashi’s look of concern.
After a few beats, Iruka nodded, “let’s take a couple more steps, the doctor said walking would do me some good.”
The pair reached the end of the street when Iruka got another sharp pain. Deaf to Iruka’s protests Kakashi wrapped his other arm around Iruka and Sunshined to his front door.
Iruka rested his head on the shinobi’s shoulder and huffed, “I thought I would make it home without your fancy Jutsu.”
Kakashi opened the door and led them inside “I’m sure your back will appreciate my Justus in due time.”
Applying cold packs will ease the inflammation and pain from the area…
Naruto became a fixture in Iruka’s home, adamant that his (now beloved) Sensei needed someone to take care of him.
One night, without making eye contact Naruto mumbled to the Chunin, “we’ve got no one but ourselves, so we’ve got to stick together. Kind of like family ya’ know.”
After this revelation Naruto came back from his apartment to Iruka cleaning out a spare room for him, “family usually share a home to ya’ know” he shared with a watery smile.
Iruka’s days blurred together, his schedule consisted of waking up, eating Naruto’s breakfast, walking the perimeter of his home, bathing in the early afternoon, eating whatever Kakashi dropped off, and applying ice packs. Lots of ice packs.
After reading the article Iruka was given, Naruto demanded Kakashi (in his loudest voice) to “buy Iruka-Sensei all the ice packs he could carry, that way he can heal faster.”
Iruka tried very hard to stifle his laughs.
And so after his shower, Iruka spends his evenings on his stomach with ice packs near his injury. The first time he tried this remedy he couldn’t handle the cold at the center of his back, so placed it near the small of his back. That didn’t work either, so he placed it on his neck. Nothing. He kept moving so much that Naruto scolded him for distracting him from his show. Iruka huffed and placed it around the stitches were the tissue was healing. There he found that it worked the best for him. So much so that when Kakashi came over to eat with the pair Iruka didn’t stir. His light snoring told the guests that this was the best rest Iruka has had in weeks.
A variety of creams and ointments can provide relief to the injured areas…
After supper, Naruto would run off to his old apartment to get a change of clothes, which gave the adults time to clean and talk.
Kakashi took the dish from Iruka's hands to dry, “has he driven you up the walls yet?” Kakashi drawled.
Iruka shook his head and chuckled, “more like the other way around. He’s always yelling at me to take it easy.” Iruka’s smile slips off his face, “I think he feels guilty for what happened to me and he’s doing everything in his power to make up for it.”
Kakashi starts to put away the dry dishes and looks to the Chunin, “he cares for you Iruka, yelling and running after you is the only way he knows how. You gave him that example when you would chase him down the streets of Konoha, let us worry about you.”
Iruka nodded and dropped his hands to the counter, feeling the day’s activities catch up with him.
Kakashi noticed the sudden change in the teacher’s mood and chuckled. “Already for bedtime I see.” Storing the last of the dishes the jounin led Iruka to the couch. While Iruka settled on his stomach Kakashi went in search of the cream he bought earlier today. The jounin walked back to Iruka and found him splayed out on the couch with his eyes closed. Kakashi brushed his hand on Iruka’s temple, “lift your shirt so I can put this cream on your back.” Iruka hummed and did as he was told. “Kakashi-San you didn’t have to buy a cream for me, you shouldn’t have gone through the trouble.”
Kakashi shrugged his shoulders. “I read somewhere that massaging your back helps.”
Seeing the injury for the first time brought a wave of rage Kakashi hadn't felt in a long time. He let the emotions pass through him and got to work, this wasn’t the time for him to get emotional. Kakashi worked the tender flesh, careful not to aggravate the still-healing wound.
Iruka, unaware of the silent battle going in Kakashi’s mind was enjoying the massage, there is only so much a couple of ice packs can do. The ointment’s healing properties soothed the tenderness of the healed skin and muscle. With every knead and caress Iruka found himself nodding off. By the time Kakashi finished Iruka was fast asleep.
Stretching can help loosen muscles and release tension from your back…
Naruto took his duties as Iruka’s caretaker extremely seriously. He read the articles and brochures the doctors gave his sensei to better understand how to help. Naruto zeroed in on the stretching exercises, knowing that an old person like his Sensei could benefit stretching every once in a while. But he was stuck on what stretches suited an old person like Iruka, so Naruto went in search of the only other old person he knew: Kakashi.
Searching the village he found his new Jounin-Sensei reading a bright orange book on a tree close to the academy grounds. Naruto crossed his arms and shouted, “Kakashi-Sensei what do old people like you do to stretch?”
Kakashi snapped the book shut and jumped from the tree in front of Naruto. “I’m 26. And what do you want with extra exercises? Isn’t the stuff I gave you enough?” He drawled.
Naruto huffed. “This isn’t for me, it’s for Iruka-Sensei, he hasn’t been these taking these papers seriously and I wanna make sure he gets better.”
Kakashi put his hands in his pockets and motioned Naruto to follow him. “Alright let’s see what we can do.”
When Iruka got home from his walk around the village, Naruto was waiting in the living room. The couch and kotatsu were cleared to make room for two mats.
“Sensei! Lets stretch, it’ll be good after your long walk.” Naruto grabbed the Chunin and led him to the mats.
Chuckling, Iruka agreed and followed Naruto’s lead on the exercises, they were basic ones that Joinin used after coming home from strenuous missions.
After they were done stretching Iruka grabbed Naruto by the collar and pulled him into a hug. “Thank you for taking care of me these past weeks, it must have been hard having me as a patient.” Naruto grabbed onto the back of his Sensei’s shirt, holding on to him tightly. “I don’t mind.” Naruto softly added, “That’s what family does, they take care of one another.”
Iruka held onto Naruto tighter.
Stress can trigger painful spasms, so it is essential to manage or reduce stress…
Iruka was tired of doing nothing. Iruka is an active person, when not at the mission desk or at the academy Iruka likes to go out with his friends or do errands around town. He doesn’t spend his day on the couch or cooped up in his apartment listening to Naruto go on about his new Joinin sensei being “lazy Kakashi-San.” So Iruka is ecstatic when he’s allowed back to teaching.
Unfortunately for the Chunin sensei, he’s been given Naruto’s protégé and second knucklehead of the village: Konohamaru.
Iruka thought teaching Naruto was hard, but this class was determined to run him ragged. Hanabi, Konohamaru’s rival, sat behind her classmate, Akio and smacked his head against the table. She ran off and shouted to Konohamaru, “Konohamaru! Apologize to Akio for elbowing him in the head.”
Konohamaru turned to Hanabi, confused.
Akio in pain, shouted, “Konohamaru! you’re just as clumsy as Naruto!” Konohamaru enraged, got up on his desk and shouted, “no one talks about Naruto that way and gets away with it” and lunged towards Akio.
As soon as Konohamaru lunged for Akio, the academy headmaster walked in for the annual performance evaluation.
Before Konohamaru could reach Akio, Iruka grabbed him by the collar and sat him in his seat. Turning to the headmaster with a forced smile Iruka greeted her, “Welcome Etsu-Sensei please have a seat, we were about to start a pop quiz on the history of Konoha.”
The class collectively groaned.
By the end of the day Iruka was exhausted, he had to disassemble three pranks his students left for the headmaster after lunch. And Konohamaru decided that today was the day he would leave school to become a rouge ninja. With the help of Ebisu-Sensei, they were able to return in 15 minutes with a battered Konohamaru in tow.
As Iruka opened the door to his apartment, a wave of delicious odors hit his nose. It was Naruto’s turn to cook and he bribed Kakashi to help with his cooking. “If you help me cook a delicious meal for Iruka I’ll help you round up the troublesome Sasuke and Sakura for you, believe it!”
As Iruka took off his sandals and dropped his bag to the floor the tension left his body. He stretched and smiled at the duo in the kitchen. Hoping to catch Naruto off guard he tiptoed to the kitchen, once he was behind Naruto he turned to Kakashi and winked at him.
“NARUTO YOU COOKED THIS FOR ME?!” careful to not burn them Iruka grabbed Naruto and tackled him to the ground. Laughing Naruto replied, “I gotta show you my awesome cooking skills now that I live with you Iruka-Sensei.” They both continued laughing while Kakashi maned the abandoned stove. While Iruka continued to chatter with Naruto, he wondered what deity blessed him to have this in his life.