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This Broken World We Choose [Backstory: Tousaki Miyako] [Nov. 30th, 2011|01:03 am]


[[Although this story takes place around 24 years before the main events of Fallen Leaves, it is part of official Leaves canon. It is also a birthday present for Dark, who asked for the story of how Ryouma's parents met. Sequels may follow!]]

He’s leaning on the bar nursing a bottle of beer when Miyako comes up to order another round, and since the bartender’s busy getting his flirt on with a redhead at the far end Miyako takes her time appreciating the man at her elbow. Tall, the way she likes ‘em, with scarred hands and black hair and no obvious insignia of clan or rank. When he tips his head back to drink the sweeping line of his throat and jaw is like calligraphy.

“Drinking alone?” she asks.

He glances down at her, and if he’s drunk enough to be startled it’s only a flicker behind dark eyes. “I was.”

There’s a bandage nearly hidden beneath the short sleeve of his black tee-shirt, a scabbing scrape along his high, chiseled cheekbone. Miyako’s a chuunin of Konoha; she knows well enough not to ask if it’s the mission that has him drinking here alone, or where his teammates are. Her own teammates from her latest mission are waiting in a booth at the back, but they can wait a bit longer. She rests her elbows on the bar and tosses her long hair back, inviting his gaze to linger. “If the bartender ever bothers to do his job, let me buy you one.”

“Do I look like I need it?” There’s a momentary tension in his mouth--professional paranoia, she thinks. Jounin.

That would be enough of a turn-off for most girls she knows, genin and chuunin alike. (Civilians are too silly to know better. Miyako and the other kunoichi watch out for the civilian girls when they can, warn them off the dangerous ones, and shrug and go back to their beers when the little fools brush their warnings off.)

But Tousaki Miyako has never been most girls. )
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Nothing To Fear [Ryouma, Katsuko] [Nov. 20th, 2011|06:27 pm]
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[Current Mood | blank]

[[Takes place October 23, two days after Resting Easy.]]

It was hard, when you were the only person in ANBU--hell, in the village--with chakra reserves bloated to a size slightly larger than your average elephant. There was no precedent for how to deal with it when the inevitable erosion of your coils began, nor did anyone know what to do when you nearly blew yourself up trying to light a campfire with a D-level sneeze of a katon jutsu.

They didn’t know how to fix you, but that sure as hells didn’t stop them from trying.

Katsuko let the door to the examination swing shut behind her, feeling like someone had clawed her skull to ribbons from the inside. The hour-long appointment had been torture, as usual, exercise after exercise of trying to contort her chakra into seals and jutsu too small to accommodate it anymore. It was humbling to realize that she’d have to light fires the civilian way from now on, unless she wanted to singe her eyebrows and ruin another pair of gloves again.

If it went on like this, if her control continued to erode, she’d only be useful as a walking bomb. She sighed, rolling her shoulders to dissipate some of the tension that had built up over the session, and tried not to think about it.
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Wise Men Keep Secrets [Kakashi, Ryouma] [Nov. 18th, 2011|10:09 pm]

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[[Takes place the morning of October 21st, directly after Resting Easy.]]

The carpeting outside of the Hokage’s office smelled faintly of blood. The two flanking guards were spotless in their uniforms and blank-faced, but the chuunin assistant behind the receptionist’s desk looked a little pale.

Kakashi stood with his hands shoved into his pockets, freshly showered and shaved and dressed in jounin blues, and waited. On the other side of the thick, brass-handled door, muted voices argued back and forth. Occasionally, the Hokage’s steady murmur would break in.

“Hatake-san, you don’t have an appointment,” the chuunin said wearily. He was a short, slim man with slicked back hair and a white scar cutting across one cheekbone. “Sandaime-sama is busy.”

“I’ll wait.”

The chuunin blew out an aggravated sigh, returning to the heavy stack of paperwork in front of him. One of the guards looked fractionally amused.

The sun drew a slow arc across the floor, edging warmth up Kakashi’s leg as the apex caught him just before noon. He meditated on his feet, ignoring the rustlings and pen-scritchings of bureaucracy, the guards’ shift change, the scent of the chuunin’s bento-boxed curry lunch. Diplomats and council-members with appointments arrived and were politely turned away, informed that the Hokage’s morning meeting had run unexpectedly long. More than one of them threw a curious glance Kakashi’s way.

“Is that—” began an older woman, cutting herself off.

“Sakumo’s son,” muttered the elderly man accompanying her.

The woman looked very much like she wanted to spit; Kakashi wondered which family member she’d lost to his father’s mistake.

It was an hour past noon when the office door suddenly slammed open, startling the chuunin into dropping a pen. The guards didn’t blink. A tall, hawk-faced man stormed out, followed by two younger men, only to be brought up short by Kakashi in his way. The first man was wearing the grey and black diplomatic robes of an Iwagakure envoy, stitched with gold threads down the sleeves; his eyes widened slightly.

“You,” he snapped. He whirled back on the doorway. “Is this deliberate?”

The Hokage gave Kakashi the barest edge of a look that suggested he wouldn’t mind whacking him upside the head with his official hat.

“Merely a coincidence, Kanen-san,” he said, tucking his hands into his sleeves. “I believe Hatake-san has a separate issue he’d like to discuss with me.”

Hatake-san. Kakashi stayed expressionless. He hadn’t been Agent Hatake for three months, now. )
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All Fall Down [Ginta, Kakashi] [Nov. 14th, 2011|12:57 am]

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[Takes place May 3, immediately following Off the Edge of the Map]

Half an hour passed before the shivering set in, while Ginta waited for Kakashi to do anything other than breathe. Cold from the floor, cold from shock, cold from unstemmed bleeding. The oppressive darkness turned hazy and gray, reducing Ginta’s world to Kakashi, unmoving but warm in his arms, and the icy dizziness trembling up from within. Baiji whined a worried sound when Ginta swayed, and tucked himself up close, sheltering both ninja against a broad, rough side.

A few chunks of ruined masonry fell, a groan rattled through the rubble, but their false cave held its shape.


The mastiff turned his massive head and licked at the blood on Ginta’s chin with another anxious whine.

From somewhere deep within, resolve reasserted itself. He could sit here and bleed to death, or he could deal. No. There wasn’t a choice. He would deal.

He eased one arm away from Kakashi and found a second roll of bandage )
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How to Disappear [Asuma, Katsuko] [Nov. 13th, 2011|09:13 pm]
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[Current Mood | depressed]

[Backstory: Takes place in November two years after the Kyuubi, six months after In A Place Like This. Katsuko is fifteen and Asuma is seventeen in this.]

The cell to right of hers had been empty for two weeks, now. When the orderlies slammed open the basement door, supporting a limp body between them, Katsuko’s only thought was a listless, I hope the new guy’s quieter than the last one.

Hakuin coughed, a bone-dry rattle that echoed in the suddenly silent hallway. Ichiba was curled up in the far corner of his cell, eyes round as dinner plates over the huddle of his arms. Katsuko herself rose to a half-crouch, craning her head towards the new prisoner’s faceless silhouette.

One of the orderlies fumbled open the lock to the empty cell while the other manhandled the prisoner over the threshold; he landed on the dirty rushes with a heavy thump. She stared at him as the orderlies turned to leave, relaxing when she saw the ragged rise and fall of the man’s chest.

There was a collective sigh of relief when the basement door slammed shut; Katsuko exhaled, quietly, and crawled her way over to the grate set in the right wall of her cell. “Hey,” she whispered, peering at the dark form in the room beyond. “Hey. You all right there?”
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Resting Easy [Kakashi and Ryouma] [Nov. 8th, 2011|08:08 pm]

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[[Takes place October 21, the morning after Find Me On High Ground.]]

Ryouma woke to sunlight stretching a wide ray of warmth across his face and chest, a bush warbler’s liquid chirping trill in the trees outside the window, and a lean, muscled arm thrown possessively over his ribcage. Kakashi was a solid heat at his back, one foot hooked over Ryouma’s ankle. His breath tickled Ryouma’s ear.

For a long, delicious moment Ryouma lay still, eyes half-slit against the sunshine. He hadn’t dreamed it. And this was no genjutsu, either; no Suna nin would think to add the delicate detail of the bush warbler’s autumn song. He was safe in Konoha, waking up in Sharingan no Kakashi’s bed, and the rest of his life stretched out before him.

He drew a deep breath--sweat, cotton, a faint lingering aroma of last night’s stir-fry, Kakashi--and grinned ridiculously to himself. Then, caught by a sudden thought, twisted to his other side and wriggled up onto his elbow. Kakashi’s grip tightened a little, but he didn’t stir.

Ryouma had watched him sleep before. Sat vigil, more like, in the hospital and once, memorably, in a hotel room, after Kakashi took a double dose of a drug meant for Ryouma. He’d counted breaths until he lost track somewhere in the high five hundreds, hummed, sung, massaged limp limbs to prevent blood pooling, talked aloud to Kakashi and to himself. For all that, he realized, he’d never actually spent much time watching Kakashi. The mask was there, for one thing, and even when it wasn’t a vague sense of decency still constrained him; you didn’t stare at Kakashi’s naked, vulnerable face any more than you rifled through his underwear drawer.

Seeing as how the rest of Kakashi was just as naked, though, Ryouma felt fully justified in a little aesthetic appreciation. )
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Find Me On High Ground [Ryouma and Kakashi] [Nov. 6th, 2011|01:26 am]

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It was autumn in Fire Country.

He hadn’t expected that. He still didn’t have a very clear idea of how much time had passed; no one had told him, and he didn’t dare ask. The two ANBU who’d been sent to escort him home seldom talked to each other, and even less frequently talked to him. Careful, precise orders: Wake up. Eat this. We’ll stop for the night now. They didn’t know how badly his brain was damaged; they weren’t trained to deal with it. He caught glints of fear, sometimes, in the hesitation before they touched him, in the awkward tilt of a masked face as they refused to meet his empty gaze.

They were ninja; they didn’t fear death. He was something out of every shinobi’s nightmares.

He wondered, sometimes, why the Hokage had bothered to bargain for him. Had the Kazekage clarified in his first--no doubt very politely worded--messages that the injured Konoha ninja who had just happened to appear in Sunagakure no Sato was a drooling idiot, or had he merely made vague mentions of serious injuries and gestures of good will and the possibility of opening up channels of communication between the two villages? A ninja crippled in combat was still owed something by his village, some return of his loyalty: rescue, healing, a tiny pension. A ninja who lost his mind would never know the difference.

The ANBU hadn’t known. It was clear from the shock in their rigid shoulders when they’d stepped through the doorway into his clean, white-washed room, seen him sitting on his bed, and stopped. One of them had known him, he learned later, listening to their murmured conversation by the campfire. Only briefly, from one mission last December--his first training mission, as it happened--but he’d been impressed with the rookie, then. He’d thought the boy had potential.

“He didn’t even make it to six months,” the woman said, eyeing him across the fire. “Poor bastard. What the hell is he supposed to do now?”

Tousaki Ryouma stared blankly into the heart of the flames, and wondered the same thing. )
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Leaves is returning! [Nov. 6th, 2011|12:34 am]


To our dear and faithful readers,

Leaves is not dead! It has been at least seven months since our last thread was posted, but we are glad to announce that soon there will be much more to read.

Ryouma's writer, Ki, has returned to us, and without giving away too many spoilers, Ryouma's story is not over. And of course there will be other familiar faces returning.

The plan is to kick things off with a six-month timeskip following Off the Edge of the Map, which is the last thread posted in the Kakashi-and-Ginta-go-after-Ryouma arc. Though rest assured, that arc will be finished.

We want to thank all of you who have stuck with us this long, especially those who have left reviews in the guestbook. We have read and treasured each one (even if we have been exceptionally lax about responding).

Keep an eye on the OOC forum, where announcements of threads will be put up as they’re posted, and as always feel free to leave us comments, questions, or otherwise in the forum, the guestbook, or right here.

Best regards,

Dark, Nezuko, Kilerkki, Phi, and Gunmetal,
Fallen Leaves Writers
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In a Place Like This [Katsuko] [Oct. 31st, 2011|07:35 pm]

[Backstory: Takes place during Katsuko’s six-month imprisonment in the labs, a year after Kyuubi. Katsuko is fifteen in this.]

There was no night down in the holding cells. For there to be night there’d have to be day, and who could tell which was which underground? Time was measured, instead, by the small increments between one experiment and the next—the hours between the rattle of a key in the lock, the creak of old steel as the orderlies wheeled the gurney down the long hallway.

They took away her forehead protector and weapons, her clothes and the family photo she kept in the leather pouch strung around her neck: vestiges of an old life, proof of an identity she no longer owned. In return she was given a number, 24, and a syringe of gleaming, clear liquid that burned as it forced into her veins. Before dragging her downstairs, into the dark, the orderlies shaved her head down to smooth stubble and dressed her in a rough tunic that came down to her knees; the drug they’d injected her with kept her numb and compliant, loose-limbed as a rag doll.

The first night was the worst. )
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The Birthday Party (Ibiki, Idate, Tsume, Kiba, Hana, Kuromaru) [Mar. 2nd, 2011|03:02 pm]

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Takes place July 7, three months after Ibika’s rescue of Kiba from the Forest of Death in Where the Wild Things Are and Tsume’s failed search for Ryouma in Never and Always, and two months after Ibiki and Asuma’s retrieval mission for Kakashi and Ginta in Tiny Little Fractures (That arc will continue as planned, we’re just time-skipping Tsume and Ibiki)

Ibiki had never been inside the Inuzuka compound before. He’d walked by it plenty of times, but from the road all one could see were the dense thicket of trees that bordered the Inuzuka land and separated it from the rest of Konoha, and the occasional wisp of smoke from cooking fires. Rumor had it, according to his little brother Idate, that setting one uninvited foot onto the path through the trees would result in a vicious mauling by a pack of savage Inuzuka hounds that were too wild to be ninken.

“Jotaro’s brother tried it on a dare,” Idate said solemnly, “and he got his whole face eaten off, and you could see the bones and everything.”

“Really?” Ibiki asked. They were nearing the compound now, strolling under dappled shadows on the road next to the compound. The closer they got, the more Idate slowed down.

“Really, niisan. Really, really.”

“Well it’s a good thing we’re invited then, isn’t it? Do you have the invitation?” )
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Off the Edge of the Map [Kakashi and Ginta] [Feb. 9th, 2011|08:25 pm]

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[Follows immediately afterwards Tiny Little Fractures, on May 3rd.]

It had been more than three hours.

Kakashi blinked awake and found himself wrapped like ivy around Ginta, one arm thrown across a lean chest, forehead pressed hard against an ANBU tattoo. Every breath drew in a throatful of hard-sleeping scent: sweat and lead and charred flowers.

Slowly, Kakashi lifted his head.

Ginta was turned slightly towards him, laid out in an oddly contained sprawl. One leg kicked out, one hand curled loosely around Kakashi’s wrist. Every soft exhale clouded visibly in the cold air.

Without moving, Kakashi slid his gaze over to the tent flaps. Pakkun was curled up there, close to their feet, ears cocked towards the outside world. His eyes were closed. Outside the tent, dawn had given way to early morning, bright and grey and cold.

It had been six hours at least, probably closer to eight, and Kakashi had spent it asleep in the arms of the wrong man. )
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Tiny Little Fractures [Genma, Raidou, Ibiki, Asuma] [Jan. 23rd, 2011|09:17 pm]

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[Takes place May 3, the same day as Off the Reservation]

Genma shut the apartment door behind him and leaned against it, holding the scroll in one hand. He looked across the apartment to Raidou who was in the kitchen, drying clean dishes.

"What was that about?" Raidou asked, pausing mid-motion, damp glass in one hand, tea towel in the other.

"It was Ginta. He wants me to give this to Arakaki on the sixth." Genma stared at the scroll, a standard mid-mission report type, like countless scrolls he himself had filed from the field on longer missions. It was sealed and secured, addressed to Arakaki, and coded with the red and black stripes that marked it as ANBU-specific, A-class or higher, and urgent.

"He can't hand it in himself?" Raidou asked. He put the glass and towel down and took a few steps towards Genma.

"He was dressed in his gear, like he was heading out on a mission." Genma turned the scroll over and over, as if he could somehow read it through the opaque outer covering. "But there's no way he's mission-fit yet. I mean, shit, he and Kakashi were both in the ICU the same time as us, and look at us." He shrugged his arm in its splint and sling, tilted his head back to expose the remains of a more-than-a-month-old garrote injury, still fading red lines under a dusting of stubble. Looked at Raidou's bandage-covered cheek, where the worst of the burns still hid.

Raidou graced Genma with the dryest of grins. "Speak for yourself. I'm the picture of health." He came the rest of the way to Genma to peer down at the scroll. "Assuming 'stamped-on shinobi' counts as healthy, anyway. You gonna open that?"

"I don't know." Genma met his partner's eyes. "It's sealed for Arakaki, it's a mission scroll. That right there makes it a big deal for me to violate the seal. And then he looked at me and he was all, 'I'm trusting you, Genma.' Like... Like I don't even know. Serious. The only time Ginta's ever serious is on a mission."
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Never and Always [Tsume] [Jan. 17th, 2011|11:54 am]

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[[Takes place one and a half weeks after Up in Flames, one week after Ryouma goes missing, and one and a half weeks before Off the Reservation.]]

It was easy to get lost in the push-pull of the saw, to let the buzz of blade against wood drown out everything else. It was hard to wrap her mind around the clan loss; so many homes gone, so many Inuzuka injured. Too many dead. Her pack, her family, and too many she hadn't been able to save.

It was as if the world had been wreathed in fog, and it hadn't cleared away yet. There were moments when she felt bright and aware, but for the most part she worked through the day to rebuild the compound, then went to the ANBU headquarters at night and fell into her bed, trying not to think about what had happened. Trying not to run through the names of those who wouldn't be coming back, or to feel like a coward for fleeing the scent of fire that still lingered a week and a half later. They needed the room for the refugees; it made sense for her to stay in her apartment at HQ.

When someone called her name, Tsume straightened up with a wince, freeing her hand from the handle of saw. A child stood in the middle of the blackened field, framed by the skeletons of houses that had, not so long ago, been homes. All but a few of them, those the farthest out, had been torn down. The cub standing in the midst of them pointed, and Tsume looked up.

A hawk soared above, drifting in circles as it peered down at them. With the trees burned away, it didn't have to swoop through the forest. Instead it dove low, dropping a scroll before beating up into a climb and vanishing over treetops toward the heart of Konoha.

The scroll fell through the air unimpeded, the blood-red seal glinting dully as it spun. It landed with the sharp slap of paper on flesh. Tsume slid a broken nail under the wax and opened it, skimming down the instructions.

There wasn't much. Report to ANBU headquarters immediately for a classified assignment. )
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Up in Flames [Asuma, Tsume] [Jan. 12th, 2011|11:45 am]

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[[Takes place eight days after the Pirates and Ninja arc ends, and six days after the Sandaime delivered an invitation to Asuma and Tsume got roped into going, too, in Feuds and Families. Also takes place three days before Ginta and Kuromaru go drinking in Hair of the Dog.]]

Kuromaru nosed his way into Asuma's room, pausing with just his head inside the door. Asuma was uncommonly polite; all the other ninja kept their doors not only closed, but locked, and how was Kuromaru supposed to check on them then?

Asuma was sprawled in bed, fully clothed, one booted foot hanging off the side of the mattress. Kuromaru trotted in and dropped the squirrel he'd caught on the floor, then sat and looked at Asuma expectantly.

Asuma snored.

Kuromaru cleared his throat, then wagged and hopped up to all four paws when Asuma stirred. But Asuma only mumbled, rubbed his face, and rolled over.

Kuromaru sighed and picked the squirrel back up, dropping it on the bed. Then, aiming carefully and prepared to leap back, he barked. Once.
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Off the Reservation [Ginta, Arakaki, Kakashi] [Jan. 1st, 2011|09:54 am]

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[Takes place May 3, approximately a month following All My Regrets Are Nothing New, three weeks weeks following This Time It's Different and two weeks following Hair of the Dog.]

Ginta was concerned. In fact, more than concerned. In fact, if you considered the pace at which he was limping down the hall, he was downright alarmed. He'd been home in his own apartment for three weeks, and in all that time he'd seen no sign whatsoever of Ryouma or Kakashi. Which, well, that was their business and he was staying out of it from now on, but they were his friends, dammit, whether or not either one of them thought so. So he'd been keeping an eye out for them, and not just because he knew Kakashi was still recovering and Ryouma was playing a dangerous game with chakra pill abuse.

The thing was, both apartment doors stayed locked, and both men were listed as "on mission." And not with one another. But there was at least a little flicker in Kakashi's status: he'd be "on mission" and then "in debriefing" and then "available" for half a day, before "on mission" went back up by his name on the status board. Ryouma was just continuously on mission, but the date he was expected back had been changed, Ginta was sure, a couple of times, before it was obliterated with a heavy black censor bar and replaced with "classified."

When he analyzed the other missions and who was assigned to them, though, it painted a disturbing picture. Because in amongst the various assignments that composed ANBU's mission load, there was a flavor of urgency, and a suspicious pattern of team make-up, with non-ANBU Inuzuka and Aburame trackers assigned on teams with field medics and heavy muscle, over and over, in little four and five day bursts. It looked like — disturbingly like — a search and rescue operation. And Ryouma was the only agent on that board who was neither deep cover Intel nor S-ranked jounin whose return date was classified.

It was when, on a bright early May morning, Ginta checked and found Ryouma's status itself had been changed from "on mission" to "classified", that he'd really started to worry. Then he'd gone digging. He had time on his hands, with nothing to do but work on regaining his strength and stamina now that the cast was finally off his leg, and there was only so much training he could do in a day before it started to hurt enough he wanted to reach for a bottle of pills. So he had both the time and a lot of connections — in Intel, in the mission assignment office, in documents and forgeries, in mission support services — that he used to put together a nightmare puzzle.

Ryouma was missing, had been missing since the fifteenth of April, and there was no sign of him.

Ginta went with a sick heart to do what he should have done three weeks ago )
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Clearer Skies Ahead [Genma and Rina] [Dec. 23rd, 2010|10:34 pm]

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[Backdated: Takes place three and a half years ago, in mid-September, two days after Lightning Strikes Twice.]

Stumbling out the door of Intelligence into the chill night air, Rina was surprised to see the sky still dark. There was something about those windowless debriefing rooms, the dark eyes and cold metal words picking you apart, that made it feel like nations would rise and fall while you were in there.

But no, it had only been a couple of hours. If she were lucky, none of her insomniac family would be awake, and she’d be able to sneak in and leave them a note without actually confronting anyone. Taking the coward’s route, she darted on aching feet through the winding side streets and back alleys of Konoha, fetching up behind a row of tumbledown shops and planting her palms against the smooth brick of one of the more solid buildings. With a twist of chakra that she didn’t really have to spare, she scampered painfully up the wall and through the darkened third story window, layers of intricate seals parting like the gauzy drapes to welcome her home.

The bed, with its plump pillows and softly flowered bedsheets, looked impossibly welcoming, but she still wasn’t quite ready to handle the well-meaning worry and stifling concern she was sure to encounter in the morning. So, with a pang of regret, she changed out of her disgusting and tattered uniform and turned instead towards the writing desk, penning her family a quick note for them to find when they woke.

Reluctantly bypassing the shower as well, since the noise would certainly wake them up, Rina crept down the two flights of creaky stairs, stepping with a careful lightness of foot shared only by ninja and chronically disobedient little girls. Glancing around the corner and seeing no lights in the main room of the bookshop, she finally released the nervous breath she’d been holding, and ventured through the lintel out into the open.

Only to meet the startled brown eyes of her little sister Mikari, hair looped up in pigtails and bent over a thick dusty book in the alcove under the stairs, where — of course — the light couldn’t escape to disturb their sleeping mother and brother. Twin guilty stares met, and then Mikari’s eyes widened further in pleased surprise, limbs tensing to run towards her battered, but obviously alive, older sister.

Unable to help it, Rina flinched. )
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No Way Back [Genma & Raidou] [Nov. 30th, 2010|10:53 pm]

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Takes place in the morning on April 9th, following Hit the Ground Running

The clock was still glowing when Raidou woke up, and the rest of the room along with it. Broad streaks of midday sun beamed through the blinds, cutting bright swathes across the floor. The whole room felt warm. Hot, even. Though that might have had something to do with the over-warm body pressed up against his right side.

As it turned out, two fully grown men tangled together in a nest of blankets and sunshine equaled a heat source that was approximately furnace-like.

Raidou licked his lips (when had he last brushed his teeth?), and lifted an unthinking hand to rub over his sweaty face. He expected rough stubble and the warped, plastic-like feel of old scars, like always.

The strip of skin that came away beneath his fingertips was a surprise. )
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Not That Kind of Hand Job [Genma & Haruichi] [Oct. 5th, 2010|12:13 pm]

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[Slight backstory: Takes place the day following The Shadow Proves the Sunshine, when Genma and Raidou are still in hospital.]

Less than forty-eight hours after his second hand operation, Genma was back in for more chakra surgery. It wasn't unexpected, and truthfully, he was glad to be out of bed for a bit, though less so to be separated from Raidou. But Raidou had been whisked off to his own appointment with the burn specialists at the same time they'd come with a wheelchair for Genma. Probably by design.

They hadn't really talked yet about that kiss on the balcony. Genma figured he ought to give Raidou some time to digest it. And truthfully, they'd both been too tired to do anything much more than sleep. Raidou wasn't avoiding him, though. That was a good sign. Genma hoped.

The chakra work with Ito-sensei was...

Best forgotten. )
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Let's Be Enemies [Genma & Kakashi] [Oct. 4th, 2010|02:46 pm]

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[Backstory: Takes place [Backstory. Takes place early October, four years post-Kyuubi, approximately two weeks following the end of Have a Little faith]

Genma spent a week in the hospital getting his poison-ravaged chakra system doctored back into health. In that time he endured three separate brain scans by the resident Hyuuga medic, and two hours-long sessions of painstaking work to repair the damage Kakashi and his desperate field-attempt at a chakra sieve had left behind. He was visited several times by three different debriefing agents in crisp Intel grey — mostly short meetings to clarify details he’d already given them, but one intense session covering every wretched moment of his mission and captivity. He’d run a fever that night, earning himself an extra day of observation when all he wanted was to go home and sleep in his own bed.

He also sat through far too many hours of conversation with a plain-faced woman from psych who knew the details of his life story better than he did, and asked him questions to which there were no right answers. She’d been summoned that night after the big debriefing, to sit quietly with Genma and make small talk, like she was a friend. When Genma suggested that what he’d really like would be to see an actual friend — Rina, for example, or Ginta — she’d been sympathetic in her refusal. The whole situation was classified to the highest level. No one, not even Genma’s most trusted friends, could even know he was in hospital, let alone why.

At least she’d told him what she could about Kakashi. Still a captive, but negotiations were going well. Two or three days into Genma’s hospital stay, the news had finally come: Kakashi was released and on his way home. Uninjured beyond what Genma had already known about.

The psych woman had asked probing questions about Kakashi, too, and Genma’s estimation of Kakashi’s mental health. Those hadn’t had any right answers, either.

Eventually he’d heard that Kakashi was back in Konoha, but undergoing medical evaluation. And no, Genma couldn’t visit him. When they’d finally turned Genma loose to recuperate at home, he learned only that Kakashi had been deemed fit for duty. And that pending passing a physical, so was he.

So maybe some of those questions Genma’d answered had had right answers after all. )
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Have a Little Faith [Genma & Kakashi] [Oct. 1st, 2010|04:04 pm]

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[Backstory. Takes place late September, four years post-Kyuubi, the morning following Working by Hindsight]

Sometime between midnight and dawn, before the oil lamp guttered out but after Kakashi and he had both nodded off sitting up and scattered their unfinished game of cards, Genma woke enough to ease his sleeping teammate down onto one of the mattresses, cover him with one drab, scratchy blanket, and then lie down himself, close to Kakashi but not touching him. For a moment he lay on his side, eyes fixed on the stitched, scab-crusted wound on the back of Kakashi's close-cropped head. Fatigue made him tremble, so that every heartbeat felt like the rocking of waves, and sleep soon overwhelmed his exhausted body like an invasion force. It kept him pinned down until well after the sun rose again.

They were both so tapped out that neither stirred, even when the double-locked door opened and three figures entered. It wasn't until Genma felt the sharp prick of a needle inserted into a raised vein in his forearm that his eyes snapped wide. He sucked in a sharp breath, rigid with tension, and found himself on his back, with Kumoto's assistant leaning over him inserting an intravenous line. More terrifyingly, Kumoto himself was on his other side, kneeling next to Kakashi, bandaging Kakashi's burned hand.

Genma's own hands jerked away, but the assistant held grimly on to his arm. "Please don't do that, ANBU-san," she said quietly. "I don't want to have to restrain you."

The paralyzing jutsu they'd used the day before — had they done it to Kakashi? )
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