There was a dull aching behind my eyes. That was the first sensation that greeted me as I slowly swam towards consciousness. It was slow because, in all honesty, I didn’t want to wake up. Something in the back of my head was telling me it would be troublesome to do so, that that direction only led to discomfort. Yet still the ache continued and despite my best efforts I started to wake up.
Turning to my side I smelt the cleaner and wanted to bury my nose into my pillow, as well as the sounds of beeping, which meant only one thing. A hospital, I had somehow ended up in the hospital. Did something happen? Maybe something blew up, something must have… The ache stopped my train of thought and as I opened my mouth I felt the air go over my tongue and my throat felt so dry. How long was I out?
Turning my head I cracked open an eye past the white clean scent. The room was dimly lit, the only light coming from behind a curtain that had been partially drawn on my side. I saw a machine just behind it with a screen, the source of the beeping. Blinking a bit, I rolled over and reached my hand up to rub my eye as I took another deep breath. I heard a faint gasp.
“Oh, you’re awake.”
The voice sounded like it belonged to, turning my head to the side without the machine, yeah, it was a dude. He stood up to reveal he was a lanky guy, tall but not very muscular, with black hair that was about an inch or two off his scalp. So civilian probably, especially considering his clothing. He was in a button up white dress shirt and dark slacks. Not common, but something occasionally merchants in a middling tier wore, mostly if they were from one of the mainland countries. He also had his arm in a sling.
He approached and I opened my mouth, but words didn’t really come, the dryness making just a faint sound as I turned to look for something to drink. He glanced at me but caught my intention quickly.
“Oh, one moment, um..”
He glanced around before seeing something out of the corner of his eye and moving. I followed his progress as he moved to a tap on the other end of the room and found a glass that was nearby. He did so, though I could tell from his movements he had a little bit of a limp, which wasn’t surprising since seeing the back of his pants I could tell they were quite dirty, the bottom fringe was even torn. He’d probably need to replace them.
“Di…” I tried to make out a syllable but he moved to my bedside again and held up a hand.
“Drink first, okay?”
He smiled at me softly and somehow it was comforting. I suppose maybe it was just how harmless he seemed. I couldn’t sense an ounce of malicious intent from him. I still looked at the water he gave me first. It was strange, most of the hospitals didn’t have taps in the rooms in Kiri, did they take me to an out of country hospital again? That was the only thing that made sense, though I hoped Tsunade wasn’t here. I didn’t want to explain all the shit I’d done to myself since the last time I saw her.
Taking a deep drink, I let out a breath and pulled myself up. It took a few sips, but I finished the glass and handed it back to him. He nodded and smiled again.
“Thirsty, huh? Well, it’s been a few hours. How are you doing, or huh, maybe I should get a nurse? Was there a cal…”
“Your arm.” I said, my eyes focusing on the sling. “What happened?”
He blinked, pulled out of his train of thought by the interruption, but looked down at the sling.
“Oh this, don’t worry about it, it’s just a, ow!” He flinched but didn’t pull away when I set my hand on the arm.
I moved it slightly away from the skin as I started to do the diagnostic jutsu to figure out what was wrong. I could see why he flinched, there was heavy bruising around the area, as well as a pretty nasty fracture all things considered, there was actually a splint under the wrap holding it in place. It was harder to get a good spread on it since I only had one hand and none of my wraps to help spread the jutsu out. Even as I focused on the bone it seemed odd. Why hadn’t any of the other doctors done anything yet? Was this a civilian hospital? It couldn’t be. Not with monitors, or maybe it was another mainland country? Didn’t know enough about the Fire hospital system to really understand if they had ninja on staff.
“Is there no one here to fix this for you?” I asked.
“What?” He said.
“Your arm. Is no one here…? Well, I guess obviously not. Or they would have already or they’re busy, but it wouldn’t have taken long if we’re the only ones here.” I said in a low voice as I glanced around the otherwise empty hospital room. “I’m mumbling. Let me see, just stay still.”
I started with the bruises, though there was something odd as I ran my hand down them. They weren’t responding quite right. I was putting energy in them to start up the healing process, but it wasn’t going up. As I tried to pull at it, I couldn’t really feel much if any chakra in his coils to help him heal, maybe he was deficient? This would be so much easier to see if I had my wraps. Well, I supposed I’d do it the harder way, thankfully bruises weren’t a serious injury as I put more of my own chakra to direct the healing. Going down his arm I then went back up to the main fracture. It took much longer than the bruises. The bone was already set, so I didn’t have to force that. Small favors. It would have hurt more if I had to have set it for him. Still, it took at least ten minutes to knit it all back together properly since I was only using my own chakra to push it in.
He was surprisingly still during the entire process, which was also a small blessing. I hated civilians moving around too much when they were being healed. When I removed my hand from his arm he pulled it up from out of the sling.
“Oh, wow, you have a healing quirk.”
“Quirk?” I said, looking at him as he examined his arm. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but maybe he’d just never seen a ninja heal before. Lots of civilians hadn’t, so being amazed wasn’t that unusual. “Well, whatever, does it hurt anywhere else?”
He looked to the side a little embarrassed, not sure why.
“Anywhere else, well no, not really I just…”
“Don’t lie.” I said, slightly annoyed. “I saw you limping.”
“Oh, well, yeah, I have some bruising on my side, and I think maybe around my left thigh.” He didn’t fight being caught in it and gestured to the side where his arm was as he pulled up his shirt. I saw a large nasty bruise there and near his stomach. “Sort of ran into something.”
“Ran into, how fast were you going?” I said as I reached out and touched his leg. Moving towards the hip I found the pain, he’d bruised the bone there, not a break but still painful. It would still take less time than the fracture.
“Pretty fast, really haven’t gotten used to slowing down mid air.” He replied.
“Most people generally can’t slow down midair. The hell were you doing?” I said as I worked on the leg.
“Well, I was catching you.” He said, his hand on the back of his head as he looked awkwardly.
I paused for a second and looked up at him.
“Was I falling?” It seemed like the most appropriate question to ask. Especially since I couldn’t exactly remember at the moment how exactly I’d ended up, well, here. My head still ached, but there was a nagging feeling.
“Uh huh, there was a, well, it was a really scary incident and you sort of appeared, so I kind of swooped in and caught you.” He started gesturing wildly to illustrate his point, which he did more freely since his other arm was out of the sling after I fixed it.
“So I appeared, your tackle jumped, caught me, and that’s how you broke your arm.” I looked at him, then his injuries.
“Well, it was more hitting the building afterwards. Though man, you were heavy for such a small girl.” He said, scratching his cheek as he smiled awkwardly.
“I, oh,” I turned away. “Right, I am a bit heavy. There’s a good reason for that.”
Not that I really wanted to get into why that was right now as I moved from his side to his stomach. Oh god, did his stomach get bruised ‘cause he was catching me? He wasn’t very muscular and I knew I weighed twice the amount I should. Still, it should be easier to heal his stomach since it was so much closer to hara and…
“What the fuck?!” I pulled my hand back and stared at him, then his stomach.
“What, what is it?” He looked down at his own stomach, perplexed as he poked it and grimaced. “Is there? Is there something in there? Did I get a parasite? Can you find those with your glowy thing?”
“What, no, you, you don’t.” I said.
“Don’t what?” He replied.
“You, you lack, you shouldn’t, how, you don’t….” I tried to find the phrase but couldn’t say it aloud because I could scarcely believe it. I needed to, I needed to… “I need to check something, can you, can you stay still for a second?”
“Yeah, sure, what are you…”
I reached out and placed my hand on his forehead, taking a deep breath as I searched. I felt a hard bone under the skin, I felt blood rushing in the veins, I could even make out slight circuits from the brain, but it wasn’t there. I did the same for his throat, felt everything that was supposed to be in that area except for chakra, then I went to the shoulder and checked that gate. Nothing, it was the same for every one I checked, it was empty. By all accounts he shouldn’t be here, by all accounts he should be dead, because every gate, from the view gate in the hara to the death gate at the heart were empty. He was empty. He didn’t have any chakra. Was it a wonder I wasn’t able to direct his chakra to heal himself, he had none. I had to use my own.
“Um, so what’s wrong? Is something wrong?” He said, his voice rising. “Wait, is something wrong with me? Should I ring the others? I hope they’re awake, should I go to a hospital?”
I blinked a bit, getting out of my own head before turning to him.
“Wait, isn’t, isn’t this a hospital?” I looked at him, confused.
He looked at me, caught off guard by the question.
“No it’s… oh right, you were unconscious. The hospital was full after the incident. They were going to direct us to another hospital out of the city, but Ingenium was nice enough to take us to his agency to rest up. There are doctors, I think, though they are currently looking at heroes in worse shape on this floor, I think they shoved me here mostly cause it was empty. Are you feeling ill? Maybe I should ping them.”
Agency? What type of agency? I looked around at the darkened room with the light and scanned it. Finding what I was looking for, I stood up for the first time on the stone tile floor. I didn’t run even though I wanted to, or maybe I didn’t. I don’t know, I might have wanted proof, but at the same time… Running my hand through my hair, I looked towards my false hand. They hadn’t removed the wooden one, so closed it absently as I walked to the curtain that wasn’t surrounding the empty beds.
Pulling it back, I saw the lights pierce the darkness like a thousand shining stars on land. But it wasn’t that, I knew it wasn’t because they were too evenly spread. They were in shapes and lines, going along buildings and bridges, homes and gates. Streets were lined with them too, electric stars in the dark night glowing a bright yellow.
Electric stars, on steel posts, on concrete streets, in an urban jungle. A city, a real city, a modern city not like any the elemental nations could currently produce. Because I wasn’t there, I wasn’t in the elemental nations, I was somewhere else entirely.
Maybe I should have just stayed asleep after all.
So for people who couldn’t guess, Ume is great at diagnostic jutsu, but can only cover an area equal to her singular hand when she doesn’t have her wraps. Ume’s ability to use jutsu through her wraps is pretty great, but does come with the drawback that with them gone it has greatly diminished effects. It should be noted, fully trained medical nin don’t need that sort of crutch to do diagnosis, or at least, Tsunade doesn’t as she can spread her chakra out from a single finger to cover someone’s entire body to do a scan. Whether or not other medical nins have that sort of control varies, but they definitely have a greater natural range with just their hands than Ume does.