|[Jan. 22nd, 2012|12:42 am]|
A sensible man probably would have taken her up on that. |
“Don’t be stupid,” Kakashi said, keeping his voice low. The clone was sitting at his desk, thumbing through what was either an ancient booklet on articulated water seals, or the take-out menu from the curry shop around the corner. It acknowledged him with an absent flick of fingers, making scout sign: no problems. Kakashi set his hand between Katsuko’s shoulderblades and pushed her towards the bathroom. “Shower and mouthwash first if you want to stay.”
She kicked her flip-flops off and made a faint grumbling sound, but didn’t protest, shuffling barefoot where he directed her. She managed to stay upright all the way to the bathroom door. Kakashi flicked the light on, turned the shower on to warm, and looked at her.
“There’s a clean towel on the rail. Can you manage alone?”
She flapped a dismissive hand, sure as any shinobi who’d managed to stay on her feet after injury, blood-loss, and concussion. “Sure.”
He gave her a doubtful look, but ducked out hastily when she stripped her hoodie off, revealing nothing but bare skin and scars underneath. She was lean, small-breasted and angular, and someone had once dragged a blade from her left shoulderblade down to the opposite side of her ribcage, leaving a slashing white scar behind. He did not need to see that.
Something like a raspy chuckle followed his escape.
“Bringin’ girls home, now?” the clone murmured, unfolding from its chair. “That’s new.”
“If I let her go home, she’d’ve made it halfway and fallen in a ditch. Or accidentally shut herself in her own fridge.” He hunched a defensive shoulder and crossed the room back to Ryouma. Everything’s new.
“I didn’t say it was a bad thing,” the clone said, coming to stand next to him. It looked down at the bed. “He’s been fine, mostly. Had a nightmare, but didn’t wake up.”
Kakashi sighed softly. You’re a grown man. If you say you’re fine, I’ll believe you. Ryouma wasn’t fine, and he wasn’t talking. But there was a lot they hadn’t really talked about yet, and Kakashi was in no hurry to push him.
He leaned down and pressed a hand to Ryouma’s shoulder. “Katsuko’s here,” he said quietly. “She’s going to stay—”
“Because I’m insane,” the clone interjected helpfully, in his own voice. “And trying to collect a set.”
Kakashi snapped it out of existence with a flick of chakra. The knowledge of everything it had done while he’d been up on the rooftop flooded back into his head. It had looked at seals, mostly, and made awkward soothing sounds when Ryouma had twitched, shivered, and groaned, because apparently Kakashi hadn’t put enough helpful personality in the construct to actually be useful.
“Idiot,” he muttered to himself, and eased the pillow away from Ryouma’s face, carding apologetic fingers through short dark hair. Ryouma grumbled and turned into Kakashi’s hand, breathing easing into something less raspy, more comfortable. Still asleep.
Carefully, Kakashi pulled the diagrams out from under him, dropping them onto the bedside table.
Ryouma was the friendly one. The good-at-people one. The one who’d brought Katsuko in for breakfast, and dropped her scars and stories and problems into Kakashi’s life. Just try talkin’, friendly-like. He’d probably be delighted to wake up and find her around, so long as Kakashi could get the alcohol scent off her.
With her usual sense of timing, Katsuko pushed open the bathroom door in a cloud of steam, and stuck her head out. “Where’s your mouthwash?”
She was wearing a towel, but only around her hips.
Kakashi fixed his visible eye firmly on the ceiling. “Under the sink.”
“Okay.” She ducked back inside, leaving the door open, and rattled through his things in a way that made him physically twitch. Her hair wasn’t dry; she was dripping water everywhere.
“I question your taste,” Kakashi told Ryouma, who only barely stirred, and went to rescue his sanity. He grabbed one of Ryouma’s discarded shirts along the way, because the apartment was warm and Katsuko didn’t get cold.
She was spitting blue into his sink when he made it to the bathroom. He shoved the shirt at her.
“Here, achieve clothes.”