|[May. 22nd, 2014|05:00 am]|
"We can eat in shifts," Ryouma decided, finally. "There's not all that much left anyway. Might as well scrape the rest of this in Katsuko's bowl and make a second batch later." He looked around. "Spoons?"|
A scrambling search produced the large metal spoon the clones had been using to stir the curry, several teaspoons, and a cardboard box of disposable chopsticks in paper packets. It was the shower clone, flushed and triumphant, who found another unlabeled box with a treasure trove of cutlery, including a set of six matching flat-bowled curry spoons. The clone wiped one off carefully on its pant leg, stuck it into a bowl of curry, and smiled proudly over the result.
Back in the bunkroom, Kakashi was asleep again under his pile of blankets. Katsuko sat beside him, with Raidou settled behind her, holding her between his bent knees. Genma had taken a weird sort of sideways seat at the edge of the platform in front of them, with his bad leg stretched out and his good leg tucked under him. He was just lowering his hands, no longer lit with green healer's chakra, from Katsuko's shoulder to his kit.
Ryouma leaned against the door frame and watched as Genma eased Katsuko's bad arm back into the sling and strapped it down to her ribcage. "That's just barely knit together, so don't move it," he warned her. "When the nerve block wears off, stay on top of your painkillers. Take them on the clock, don't wait for it to start hurting."
"You have to take painkillers with food, right?" Katsuko asked craftily.
That seemed as good an introduction as any. Ryouma cleared his throat. "I come bearing calories."
Katsuko straightened as if she'd been shocked. Her face was pale and damp with sweat, and she swayed a little before Raidou steadied her, but her smile bloomed for Ryouma alone. "You are my favorite," she told Ryouma, and held out her good hand for the bowls he carried. "I love curry. I love you. I love you and curry. Get over here, curry minion."
"Is that a promotion?" Ryouma handed her the biggest bowl, but waited to make sure her grip was good before he held the other one out to Genma. "You and I get second shift, taichou. We ran out of bowls. Figured I'd see what Kakashi can get down him, first. Payback for Hayama."
Raidou gave him an approving nod, touched with the edge of an eye-crinkling smile. "You can try with Hatake. He just wiped out, but if you can wake him up and get food into him, that'd probably help."
Ryouma ducked his head. Maybe he should be used to that smile by now, but it always seemed to strike him at unexpected moments, like a knifeblade twisting up through a weakness in the armor and sliding between his ribs.
He really needed to get out, when he got back to Konoha. Find someone whose smile he liked better, or at least almost as well. Work out some of that post-battle adrenaline, shake off the mission-nerves. Find a little time, and space, to forget.
It'd worked before, after other missions.
He took the last bowl from Katsuko's shadow clone, tossed his utility belt towards the pile of wet gear stacked against the wall, and climbed up the platform to Kakashi's side. Staring down at the scrap of Kakashi's face visible between blanket and hair—barely a sliver of closed eye and bruised socket—he wondered if Sharingan no Kakashi, with his razorblade cheekbones and his desperate discomfort with anything that verged beyond a joke, had ever even wanted the comfort of someone else's body.
Probably not. He was ice on the mission, ruin on the battlefield. He wouldn't reach for people, and he didn't need them.
Ryouma wished, desperately, for some of that cool detachment.
Well, distraction would do instead. For a while.