[Sakura's up, and comes to the door with a steaming mug of tea in
[Much like her son, Kushina's not all that hard to read; it's
immediately evident that something's pretty wrong here.]
What's wrong? Come in, come in...
[She beckons Kushina into the apartment, worried.]
[The question makes Sakura's heart clench. As bad as Kushina looks
-- and the hour of the morning she's coming around, as though Naruto hasn't
spent the night at home...]
Not recently, no. Is he...?
I'll help. [Whether with the finding or scolding, she doesn't
clarify, but in any case, her tone is serious, bordering on grim.]
[Kushina looks utterly exhausted; Sakura's half-tempted to tell her
to get some rest, let Naruto's friends take over for at least a few hours,
long enough for her to refresh herself and get at least a little sleep in.
But it's pretty easy to guess that the suggestion won't fly. Even
with medical authority behind it, she has a feeling Kushina won't listen to
anyone telling her not to search for Naruto. And that's....
That's okay. Naruto needs people to care for him.]
He's got friends here. The more of us there are looking for him, the
[And she absolutely counts herself high on that list of
We'll find him, Kushina-san. If he's still anywhere in the enclosure,
we'll find him.
[Seeing Kushina perk up with new energy gives Sakura at least a
small sense of comfort. Even if she can't bring Naruto back into the
enclosure (if he's gone), she can at least boost Kushina's
Well, pretty much everyone on this floor is from our world. Shikamaru's
right across the way, Lee and Neji are here too, Temari, Ino....
[And Sakura does much the same, gathering together people who are
willing to look for Naruto, asking after the last time he's been
If anyone's seen him, I bet Sasuke has. [She nods, falling into
step with Kushina.]
If we have to, we'll ask everyone in the village!
It... it is, yes. [In truth, Sakura wants them all home.
But that's a hard thing to think about, when Naruto's parents are
here and not there]
If he's home... well. I'll be glad and grateful for him that he's had the
time here with you. That's a really special thing.
[It's definitely been a process, and one that still holds a lot of
backsliding. Sakura colors a little, remembering some of her comments from
years ago, and lets her gaze fall to the side.]
I... I have to admit I haven't always been good to him. He gets on my
nerves a lot. But he's also... he's pretty special, when he's not being an
idiot. [And maybe even sometimes when he is. Sometimes.]
[Her laugh has a little embarrassment mixed in with it; she's really
not the most ladylike.]
Well... it can get pretty bad, I guess. And Naruto is good at being
[What a relief that Kushina doesn't seem to see the admission as
anything bad. Sorry ma'am, I kind of beat up on your son
[They really are a lot alike, aren't they?]
There's nothing to apologize for! And he's... well, he wouldn't be
[Her tone says a lot, the mix of exasperation and strong