Date: October 22, 2016
Goh is brought to the Doctors Offices in Konoha, where a legendary healer attempts to restore his broken chakra network.
"Healing a broken network"
It's less than two days from when Taiki last saw her that Mushi returns with Goh. She looks thoroughly windswept as they come into Konoha. They don't stop to meet any old faces or eat at the ramen restaurant. They don't enjoy the view or take a rest. She drags the pickler straight to the hospital with a grim air. She herself seems unchanged except for her hair which is undone and messy. She pulls it back into a ponytail as they walk in. "When I told Kirameki-chan to go fast I didn't know she could go that fast," she says, with a thrilled smile. She's not quite sure if Goh was thrilled or terrified by the ride. She occasionally sneaks a glance at him.
"I'm here to see Inuzuka Taiki," Mushi says politely to one of the medics. She refrains from shouting, "RIGHT NOW!" The medic goes off to contact Taiki, and they follow her straight to the office. Once again, Mushi waits outside the door. Except this time with Goh. "That was a fun ride," she says with a smile. "And now we're here. I promise, you'll be just fine when we leave Konoha." She frowns slightly. If they leave Konoha. Goh might want to stay. Now she thinks of it, this is his hometown.
Those are the eyes that Goh had on his dial in the lead-up to the flight, DURING the flight, and for a few minutes after the flight. In fact, after the flight it took him a good moment to rediscover his 'land legs'. Clearly, he was not as thrilled as Mushi. In fact, on a breakdown, it would be fair to say he was all the way terrified. And not thrilled. But hey, it was over now. He was at Konoha. Safely. Somehow.
The views and sights of Konoha were nice to see again. It had been a /long/, long time since he had been here. Some of the scenery even draws a faint smile from the pickler, who feels waves of nostalgia roll across his being like water on rock.
Goh himself stands just a bit behind Mushi, to her side. Despite having his chakra network absolutely ripped to shreds and blown up from the inside, he cuts a fairly healthy figure. At the moment, anyway. He stands tall, is muscular, and carries with him the scars of a lifetime of battle. All in all he looks…. well, normal. Save for being ruffled after a day in the air.
"Yeah." He wearily drones in reply. "So fun." As he steps through the hallway, he rotates his shoulder. "My arm is still sore from doing those dishes. How weird is that?"
Taiki was on rounds when the nurse comes up to him to tell him about his visitors. After finishing with his current patient, he turns toward the nurse and asks her some questions about the visitors. Once the nurse was finished and he thought back to a conversation from a couple of days previous, his eyes widen a bit. "Get my special operation room ready, and make sure there's a fresh stack of conduit tags there. Get Yakami-san and tell her to prep for a surgery. Other than those immediately working on this case, no one is to know until I give the word. Oh… and get ready to tell Kenta he's going to have to find someone to cover for me, in case it goes how I believe it will."
After the nurse runs off to follow Taiki's instructions, he hands his clipboard to a doctor that had been following him and leaves the man to finish his rounds. Instead, he and Nozomi take the shortest route to the doctor's offices, soon entering the hallway where Mushi and Goh are waiting. What Goh would see would be far from what the man would expect. Dressed in the solid white of a Medic, and bearing the marks of a senior doctor, is an Inuzuka who appears in his early twenties. His brown hair and brown eyes seem to bring out the fang marks on his face, rather obviously pointing out his clan. If that weren't enough, walking next to him is a ginormous red-furred dog. Her shoulder reaches the same height as Taiki's, and she is wearing a white vest. It's a good thing these halls are huge…
"Hello Nikumari-dono," he says formally as he bows his head toward Mushi. "You were not kidding when you said you weren't going to be gone long," The last was said with a friendly smile, though there is still a touch of formality in his gravelly voice. He then nods his head toward Goh and says, "Hello, I am Inuzuka Taiki, a senior doctor here at Konoha Hospital, and this is one of my ninken partners, Nozomi. If you two will follow me into my office, we can complete our introductions and see what we can do to help you." With that, the dog opens the door to the office so that the three can enter freely.
Mushi pauses when she sees Goh isn't so thrilled. So she smiles and says, "Then we can go around like that /all/ the time. Every day." She's teasing…right? She heard about his arm, but refused to heal it before. That's what he got for getting in trouble, she had said. Wasn't he supposed to lay low and keep safe, not get thrown through windows? Kiri. Mushi sighs and shakes her head. She ought to give him a bit of slack, especially before a potentially dangerous operation. So she puts a hand on his shoulder. He'd feel an icy sensation in his arm and shoulder before it fades. The soreness is still there, but fading fast.
When she sees a medic scrambling to run an errand, she thinks that's a good sign. Perhaps he'll prioritize this. She knows Goh wouldn't expire so soon (at least she hopes not) but the impending operation gives a sense of immediate urgency, as if one second more might be one second too late. She recognizes this as a medic and still feels it. When Taiki comes out and introduces himself, Mushi gives a respectful bow. "Hello Taiki-kun. We tried extra hard," she says, when he mentions how fast they'd come. There's a hint of humor in her voice.
That's when Ara the tiny (or rather normal sized) hummingbird flits into view. She's been buzzing outside and around the medical center. Some thought she might be a normal hummingbird, until she verbally disabused them of /that/ notion. She was sometimes completely unnoticed, other times a peculiar sight. "Be right back," Mushi says, and would go out with her hummingbird. A moment later she comes back in, and says, "Well, she's happily back in the Forest." Something about the way she says 'forest' implies a different one apart from Konoha. When they go inside she says, "I hope Ara-chan wasn't too much of a bother. This is Goh, the man I told you about with the damaged chakra network. And Goh-kun this is the medic I spoke of who'll work to fix your chakra network." Or rebuild them more like.
Goh's head tilts when Taiki enters the room, eyes curious as they look the senior Doctor up and down. "Hey Doc." He greets in a friendly enough manner, offering a hand to shake in introduction. "Good to meet ya. Mushi tells me you're one of the best going around. I'm in your hands here. Oooooh! Nozomi's awesome!" Easily distracted by the HUGE MOUND OF FUR, the pickler turns his attention to the ninken. "The dog clan was always one of my favourites." He admits with a satisfied nod, eyeing Nozomi with some awe. "No creepy eyes or anything going on. Know what I mean?" With a small smirk, he turns, following the nankeen into the office.
"She's not kidding when she says as fast as we could. I was keen on just walking here, but… I guess I was overruled." The pickler frowns at that, sticking a tongue out at the female healer. "So what are we looking at, Taiki?" He queries, looking around the office with some curiosity. "Hm, Taiki… That name sounds familiar." Goh rubs the back of his head in thought, scratching at his memories to try and retrieve something useful. "…mm. Dunno where to place it though. Anyway, is there like a waiting list for this sort of stuff?"
Taiki smiles as another dog, who had been staying in the room, pushes a stool over for Goh to sit on. "Please have a seat there," Taiki says with a smile as he walks around his desk to open a drawer. The other dog, being similar in size to Nozomi, then walks over to a wall to lay down. "The white-furred ninken is Shinobu, he's my other partner. And Ara-san was no problem at all, beyond several people asking me why I had this hummingbird following me around." If Nozomi looked vaguely like a husky, Shinobu closely resembles Alaskan Malamute. But Shinobu is less involved, thus allowing everyone room to breath.
Taiki quickly pulls out a large seal tag, then starts to walk around the desk. "I'm fairly well-known amongst the Elemental Nations. Doctor is just one of the "hats" I wear. I'm also the Head of the Inuzuka Clan, and on Konoha's advisory council." He shrugs that off though, as it is unimportant to the conversation, instead saying, "First I'm going to use this tag to get an accurate reading of your chakra network. This will tell me exactly what I need to do, and what additional tools I'll need, if any." Provided Go acceeds to Taiki's proposal, Taiki would then walk over, place the tag on Goh's back, and intone, "Fuinjutsu: Chakra Diagnosis, Kai."
While Taiki and Goh undergo a preliminary examination, Mushi takes the time to pet the dog enthusiastically. So furry. So handsome. She says as much. Mushi loves animals. Though she's a bit selfish, to approach Shinobu without permission. He's probably used to it though. Yet the entire time she listens closely to what Goh and Taiki have to say. She smiles faintly. It's been a long time since she's been into an official medic's office. Her mode of rapport is usually popping up at random and offering to heal something.
"You're on Konoha's advisory council?" Mushi asks, her attention diverted. Even if it seems a casual thing to him at the time, it doesn't seem so unimportant to Mushi. She gives Taiki a long, weighing look. She sits down primly after that. Even though Taiki is doing most of the talking her gaze is upon Goh. And she'd be giving nods or "uh huhs" whenever he's asked to do something. As if to reassure the pickler.
With a fancy and practiced swish, Goh's cloak escapes his form and hangs nearby, leaving his torso and upper body exposed. As instructed he sits on the stool, turning a bit as the seal is planted on his back. "Wow, so we're really doing this right now, huh?" He asks, looking to Taiki, and then to Mushi. He looks a bit… worried, really. He's chewing on the bottom of his lip, perhaps hoping for a good diagnosis. "Mushi told me some of the basics. I know you guys are experts, but… well, I can still hope you're wrong, right?" He laughs a bit nervously, before looking to Mushi again. He seems to be doing that a lot. Every reassurance he gets from her earns a nod in return, as he inhales and exhales slowly, eyes going back to the floor.
"Have you done much chakra work before, Doc?" He asks idly, perhaps trying to mentally re-assure himself. He already knew the answer, but hearing it again wouldn't hurt.
Shinobu seems to tilt his head to the side when Mushi stops paying attention to him, even though he was putting up with the lavishment of attention before. He 'muf's softly once, then lays his head down. Taiki doesn't appear to notice as he's mostly focusing on the jutsu he's doing. Several lines of tiny black seals race into Goh, seemingly disappearing under his skin as Taiki answers the Goh's question. "I'm Konoha's chakra expert. I learned medical jutsu from Uzumaki Tenken, and he helped me develop these techniques. I've done a great deal of work with chakra networks, ranging from chakra parakeets to biju chakra poisoning to everything in between. So you don't need to worry, if something can be done, it can be undone. It just takes the right tools." And Taiki obviously knows from whence he speaks.
"Given what Mushi-san explained to me, I felt it is best to get to work rather quickly, if for no other reason than to avoid keeping you waiting on a prognosis, or a treatment for that matter. This way, even if there is bad news, we can avoid the damage that delays can cause." After a few more minutes he intones, "Fuinjutsu: Chakra Diagnosis: Fuin." The little black seals are sucked in quickly, the tag flashes blue, and then it falls to the floor as the ink fades from it. Taiki looks cautiously optimistic, but his gravelly voice is also serious as he turns to Nozomi and says, "Tell them to go ahead and notify Kenta that I'll need a replacement for at least a week, and after that I'll be on vacation. Also tell them to bring a gurney and a hospital gown."
After Nozomi leaves the room Taiki sits down in a nearby seat and says, "I've got good news, and I've got bad news. The bad news is my original prognosis was pretty much correct. Quite frankly, I'm surprised that you survived having parts of your network ripped out and having many of your tanketsu points burnt. But you did, and that is something that we can be thankful for. The pools I told Mushi-san about are there, and slowly growing, and parts of your body are not being provided chakra." Taiki says this as gently as he can, his face a mixture of sympathy and optimism. "But this is where the good news comes in. The damage to your internal organs is significantly less than I feared. Yes, they are dying, but the rate is much slower than I thought, and provided I rebuild your network, they should make a full recovery, especially if a regular regimen of healing chakra is applied at least once every couple of days for a month. It's a good thing Mushi-san is close to you, for she should easily be able to provide just what you need."
"He's an excellent medic and his subordinates have a very good opinion of him," Mushi says to Goh. "He's also very caring of his patients. His first priority is their well-being, not his own status, as any medic's should be." Wait, how would she know that? Oh yeah. Ara. It seems Mushi didn't come in blindly to this decision, with no idea of what kind of person Taiki was. And it seems the hummingbird had plenty of nice things to say about him.
Mushi doesn't seem surprised by what Taiki has to say. She looks worried, but also composed. Optimism has its limits when it comes to Goh being in trouble. The medic does give a nod of agreement to Taiki's expression of surprise that Goh is still standing, after that happened to him. When he mentions her applying chakra every few days, she nods. "I tried that," she says. "Trying to rebuild his chakra network a bit at a time and healing him. And I could've given time. Months, maybe? But it was like a puzzle, where you didn't know the final picture. It'd take far too long, and may not work even then. So I greatly appreciate you doing this with such urgency and professionalism, Taiki-kun." And she sounds it—enormously grateful. And another nod to Goh.
Goh nods slowly to Taiki's re-assurances. Mushi's as well. It was a totally pointless exercise that did not need to be made, but both of them made him feel a lot better about all this. Both of them had his best care at heart. Turning about as the seal falls off him, he purses his lips. As the ninken leaves, he listens intently to the diagnosis and prognosis. His hopes were dashed, unfortunately. Mushi and Taiki were correct in their observations. He was actually /dying/. Slowly, sure. But dying. The finality cause his eyes to narrow in a bit of shock, the ex-shinobi looking at his own hands.
For a moment, he seems to be unable to process the good news! In fact, the pickler stands up and wanders over to the window, leaning on it to look outside at leafy Konoha. Finally, after the dramatic pause, he turns around and flicks a thumb up. "That's good news." Admitted even if it was with a delay. "I guess all those pickled vegetables helped me out, huh? If it weren't for them, I'd probably be dead by now!" He suddenly laughs heartily, throwing his head back with vigor.
"Let's get this show on the road then." He begins, turning completely around. "And you're right, it /is/ a good thing she's here with me." The pickler beams down to Mushi, a hand lifted to place on her shoulder. "I would probably be dead if it wasn't for her." Giving her shoulder a squeeze, he lets go.
"I appreciate this, Taiki. I won't forget it. I'll be forever in your debt." The pickler nods. "Any time you want some pickled vegetables, you just hit me up, huh?"
Taiki nods slowly as he reiterates his earlier findings. "The ultimate point is that when I'm done, you'll make a full recovery. And what you'll be healing are his internal organs, not the network. By the time I'm done with this, his network will be rebuilt, with the last of it just taking time. So all you need to worry about are things like his intestinal track, the liver, the gall bladder, those organs. The brain is showing no damage, so there won't be any complications there."
Just then there is a knock on the door, which Taiki answers. Two nurses, one male and one female, come in with a gurney and one of those drafty hospital gowns that are open in the back. Taiki turns to Mushi and says, "Tankagawa-san will escort you to the observation room for the surgery. As soon as Kiragawa-san and I help Goh-san into the gown and get him situated, we'll be headed there, so if you could wait in the observation room I'd very much appreciate it." Afterwards he turns toward Goh and says, "Thank you Goh-san. If you could please change into this and get on the table, we'll take you to the surgery room. Please leave it unfastened in the back, as it will have to come off once I start."
When Taiki gives his diagnosis, Mushi's lips twitch when he mentions brain damage. This probably isn't the time for jokes, though Goh is making up for it. Somehow his flamboyance makes her look more worried than amused. Then she'd go over and give him a squeezing, warm hug. "He's right," she says to Goh. "If his diagnosis is correct this is a treatable condition and you'll be restored in no time." She turns him around. "This is a good thing. I wasn't fully sure I could restore your network system…ever. Or if anyone else could. And if he wants payment it /won't/ be in pickled vegetables." She shivers. Yuck. Yep, she's traveling with Goh and doesn't like pickled vegetables.
Mushi nods to Taiki's instructions. "You go get ready," Mushi says to Goh, and all hints of humor are gone. She sounds calm and reassuring when she adds, "I'll be there when the time comes. But know you're in good hands." She nods to Taiki. Then she'd adjourn to the observation room. And there in relative privacy she'd be pacing back and forth, fidgeting, and blowing off every ounce of steam she has pre-operation. It's as if she's dragging on, posing just a bit longer, before her turn is done.
Hugged and then turned around, the pickler deadpans.
"Wait. I'll be naked?" He asks, a strange concern to have given the other circumstances and challenges that he's currently facing. Picking up the flimsy gown, made of nothing much stronger than paper, he shrugs. "Well — here goes." And just like that his clothes are off, replaced by the gown. Sitting on the gurney with a huff, he lays down on the thing. A small wave is given to Mushi as she separates from him, as the ninja looks up to the ceiling.
"Wheel me away, Doc. Let's get this show on the road." Pause. "Are you going to put me to sleep for this?" The man considers. "I've always wondered how that would feel. This is going to be a first for me. Never really done anything like this."
After Goh is on the gurney, Taiki opens the door to let the female nurse back in. Shinobu yawns and falls to sleep while Nozomi follows behind the group as Goh is wheeled to a special surgical room set up for this very procedure. As he enters he says, "I will be putting you to sleep, yes. I don't know if you were awake for what was done to you, but keeping you awake for this would have to be one of the most painful torture techniques I could think of. Trust me, you don't want to feel this."
The gurney is actually also a special design as its top is made to lift off of the base and fit snugly into a massive block of stone in the center of the room. Nearly every inch of the stone is painstakingly etched in seal arrays, laying dark lines over a dark-grey and white marble slab. More black lines extends from where these seals meet the floor, as the very tiles are patterned in yet more seal arrays. There is a spot in a corner that has a circle just large enough for Nozomi to sit in, which she does. When the top of the table fits into the slot, the etchings in the table completes the patterning. "I can do this without all of this, but having all these seals makes my job easier and provides me with a safeties I would not have otherwise," he mentions for both Mushi's and Goh's sake. Mushi can hear and see Taiki just fine, but sound won't travel from her room to the surgery.
Nozomi pads to the blank circle and sits, and a nurse starts running through hand seals, though hers are different from Taiki's. Taiki finishes his rather quickly and says, "Funinjutsu: Ninken medic seal, Kai." Seals alight on each of Nozomi's paws, flaring bright blue before returning to a series steady light blue lines that make intricate patterns. "Is there any other questions you have before the nurse knocks you out?" he asks Goh.
Mushi sits cross legged and takes a deep calming breath. Then she starts to gather chakra. Just a bit at a time, barely noticeable. Except that she's doing it for quite some time, over several minutes, before she finally opens her eyes again. She remains in the observation room, and looks into the area. Her eyes take in the seals that are arrayed all over the room. Moving over them with a curious eye. Some of these she recognizes. Some she doesn't at all. She sighs and shakes her head. There's a lot to learn in this world, that's for sure
But before they start, Mushi does go to ask Taiki one question. "How long will the procedure take? A projected time, given your calculations." And she says to Goh. "I can't be a part of this. This is a coordinated operation, and I'd only get in the way. But I'll be here and I'll watch over you. You'll see me next when you wake up, as fine as ever, and eating those disgusting vegetables of yours (which did not help your longevity.)" Those last words are said with great warmth before she leaves.
As he's wheeled in and transferred to the block of stone, Goh hesitates to answer. "I was awake, yes." He answers bluntly. "After this I can tell you what happened, if you want." That was not a very pleasant memory. "I would really appreciate it if you could put me to sleep, yes." The pickler almost laughs at that last part. It was a statement he likely didn't need to make, but worthy of making sure! "Do whatever you need to do to make this as safe as you possibly can, Doc. I'm messed up enough as it is. Any more damage to me and it will probably turn even Mushi off." Pause. "Don't tell her I said that." He gives a wave to the female healer, up in observation. A sparkling smile is matched with it, even! He was here because of her, after all. "You better be. If you bail I'm gonna have to do something evil when I find ya." Then, a nod to Taiki. "Send me under."
Assuming he is put to sleep, Goh's eyes begin to shut. "Hey, you take that back." He mumbles to Mushi. "Disgustingly /awesome/ vegetables, you mean." And with that, he's out.
Mushi's question is relayed through nurses to Taiki, who answers, "Given the extent of the damage, at least 10 hours, if not 12." Another nurse wheels a table over holding a lot of pre-made tags, some ink, and some blank tags. The only other thing on the table is a bowl of chakra pills. Nodding to the nurse he adds, "I'll need at least three supply shifts for this." The nurse who brought the table blanches slightly, but nods succinctly before heading out of the room. The first nurse finishes her jutsu, and Goh's body is rendered unconscious.
Taiki then starts taking stacks of pre-made tags and starts to apply them as the nurse removes Goh's hospital gown. Taiki is obviously practiced at this, but each tag must be placed at specific points on the body, so it takes a few minutes. After he's done, he says, "Fuinjutsu: Chakra Network Surgery: KAI!" About 90 percent of the seals in the room light up at Taiki's invocation, causing the room to glow as a blue holographic image of Goh floats up from his body. The network parts that remain resemble black sticks scattered throughout the body, with pools of red to indicate chakra and a fluctuating spot just behind the stomach that is Goh's core. "Prepare the chakra sinks," he tells the nurse, who rotates plates on each corner of the slab, connecting the seals touching Goh to unlit seal arrays at each corner of the slab.
Half a day. Mushi looks frustrated, but eventually nods. For the first ten minutes she watches the procedure closely. She can't see the internal workings of it, but she can get some idea of what Taiki is doing. Stuff she's never done before. Like her he uses seals with medical techniques. It seems nothing drastic will be done all at once. She leaves the observation room and medical center. A few minutes later she comes back loaded down with everything she needs to sit in the room for twelve hours. Food, wake-me-ups, and a few things borrowed from the medical center for visitors. Then she'd just wait and watch. Literally. She doesn't even take her eyes off the room, which goes over the medics, the preparations and most of all Goh.
Over the next several hours, Taiki starts the painstakingly slow and arduous process of rebuilding a chakra network. First, all but a small trickle of Goh's chakra is siphoned off into containment seals along with a feedback loop to allow some of that chakra to refresh what is left. Then he starts at Goh's chakra core, firming it up, strengthening it, and sealing the leaks. From there he works outwards, first laying major lines and branches, with side-lines for specific areas. Each time he comes to a pool of chakra, it gets drained to the containment seal as well.
What is utterly fascinating about this is that from the outside, it appears that Taiki is manipulating the hologram above Goh, not Goh himself. But as Mushi can quickly guess, this jutsu dips deeply into relational seal theory, as small, weak "reflections" of everything that Taiki does appears in the body. One can imagine the sheer power and knowledge needed to pull something like this off. In fact, after the first hour Taiki is being fed chakra pills at the rate of 1 every half hour, with another nurse focusing on making sure his body doesn't suffer from ill effects. After six hours, when Taiki switches tracks and starts to lay groundwork for the minor pathways and capillary pathways, Teams of two medics start rotating out to provide Taiki with chakra boosts. A third does the same for Nozomi, who appears to be augmenting the power. If Mushi asks, it becomes readily apparent these measures are not normal, but in place due to the sheer scope of the task. Finally, during the last three hours, Taiki starts repairing and re-connecting tangetsu points. Thankfully, here he can just provide a steady stream of almost-microscopic sized seals into the now rebuilt chakra network, so he doesn't have to do each one by hand…
But this still takes time, and lots of it. Eleven hours and 39 minutes after Taiki applied the first tag, Taiki's arms drop to his side and the tags on Goh's body fade away, taking with it the holographic projection. A nurse is right by Taiki's side, while another supports Nozomi. "It's done. And it looks very good," Taiki's very weak-sounding voice echoes. Unless Mushi tries to stop them, both doctor and ninken are then taken to their own recovery room, as weak as kittens.