Chapter Fourteen ~ The Sky is Falling

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"What the hell? You were supposed to be watching her, Kakashi!" An angry voice hissed.

"What can I say? I didn't expect her to take a rasengan to prove a point. Ibiki, this is Cashile we're talking about. She would never put herself in harms way unless she was getting some great benefit out of it. Like the spiders!" That was Kakashi's voice, both worried and defensive.

"You idiot, you still should never have let her walk off the training grounds Injured! Baka." Angry, angry. And condescending. How irritating.

I groaned out loud. Ibiki was here? He was so annoying. Always angry.

I opened my eyes and assessed myself quickly before letting them know that I was awake. Deep cut on my forearm, about four inches long. A bandage was wrapped around it, but blood was clearly seeping through still. Apparently they hadn't gotten around to healing it. I could feel the bruises scattered all over my body beneath the hospital gown. And my stomach...

It was wrapped in bandages, and while I suspected that it had been healed, it was by no means completely fixed. I suspected that they would want me to return for another check up and healing session. Thank God Sakura was a proficient medic nin now; between her and Aiko--the nurse I was on a fist name basis with-- I would be able to avoid any official appointments.

"Let it go, Ibiki. I walked away, not Kakashi's fault," I spoke up, ignoring the burning pain in my abdomen and resisting a couple wheezes. The extra oxygen wasn't worth showing weakness over. Normally I would have held this against Kakashi, but I knew that he knew better than to feel guilty over this and give me ammo against him. Besides... he had allowed me to take that hit. He hadn't protected me from Naruto's rasengan. Maybe he was a little more Claw-like than I'd ever given him credit for.

Their heads snapped in my direction. "Don't get ahead of yourself, brat, I'm here on official business. Tell me what exactly happened," Ibiki snapped in a most formal manner. Obviously he didn't want me to get any wrong ideas. He wasn't here because he cared. He was here because he had to be. I rolled my eyes. He was an idiot if he thought I would be bothered by that.

Kakashi sighed but didn't defend me against Ibiki's immediate prodding.

I shrugged. Well, as much as I could lying horizontally in a hospital bed.

"I was attacked by another Claw. It was well trained, more so than the others. I handled it fine though; It's dead," I replied, ignoring the flash in my head of the boys face. Of his empty eyes.

Kakashi cleared his throat. "About that, Cashile..."

My eyes flashed to him. "What is it?"

"The boy you killed... He started breathing again. He's been hospitalized but restrained thoroughly, so no need to worry."

I blinked. "Alive?" I murmured. "I definitely stabbed It in the upper right chest. That's when It collapsed. The wound should have killed It."

"Like I said, he wasn't breathing--"

Ah. "It put Itself in a death-like state to survive," I realized. "Slow down Its heartbeat, minimize damage, better chance of escape. Smart. But once I was down Its injuries must have caused Its plan to backfire, landing It here. It couldn't escape and didn't realize that we would collect Its body. Now, you said It was restrained?"

Ibiki was giving me a strange look—probably because of my referral to the Claw as an It—but nodded. "We've already attempted to probe his mind, but... It's nothing like I've ever seen. He has a.. A shield. This impassive, impregnable slippery grey wall that we just can't get by."

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