|[May. 22nd, 2014|05:37 am]|
The corner of Raidou's mouth quirked briefly up, softening the sharp edges. "One thing, you said. Dead baby wasn't enough to carry?"|
A tiny bubble boiled its way to the murky surface of the stew and popped. Ryouma bit the inside of his cheek. "Just seemed like you're still carrying more."
Raidou teased the loose thread out of the bandage at last and started on another. Halfway out, it snapped.
"Maybe," he said, staring down at the ragged end. Then he dropped it, and brushed his hand against his pants. "But I've got more practice. If you really want to help, you could feed your poor starving captain who had to watch everyone else eat first and didn't complain."
"I offered," Ryouma said. "You chose to feed it to Katsuko." He gave the stew a rough stir, and let the spoon drip on the back of his wrist, below the bandages. Not quite hot enough yet. He licked the brown splatter from his skin. It tasted salty and earthy, and faintly metallic.
Because it came from a tin, not because it was blood. He got up anyway, pumped water into a battered tin cup, rinsed his mouth. Then he found another cup and brought it back for Raidou. "There were two kids, weren't there? Did you— I mean, did Katsuko take the other one?"
"And both parents." Raidou took the cup but didn't drink. "If you're still looking for a way to carry someone else, you might think about sparing a shoulder for her. Especially since she broke hers."
And the shadow clone in the shower had tried to comfort him, anyway.
Ryouma swallowed against an ache, sharp as fish scales in his throat. "I promised her clone I'd model for the ads for her bathhouse when she retires."
Raidou barked a startled, rusty laugh. "That's another way to make her feel better."
"Won't get through to her til the clone pops, though." Ryouma scuffed a foot on the dirt floor. "Hopefully she'll get a laugh out of it." He scuffed again, knocking up a clod from the hard-packed floor, then quickly tamped it down. "I can tell she means a lot to you."