Kakashi interrupted by lifting his head from Ryouma’s shoulder and revealing that he looked even worse than Ryouma did. His grey hair clung like soaked fur to his skull; his mask, armor, and weapons had disappeared, replaced by bandages covering the lower half of his face, baggy jounin blues, and a foil emergency blanket wrapped around his shoulders like an ineffective cloak. Pain and exhaustion had drained the color out of his already-pale skin, making the quasi-healed needle cuts on every uncovered part of his body stand out in stark contrast. Katsuko gaped.
Kakashi had the gall to smile at her, both eyes curving. His voice creaked like a rusty door hinge. “‘lo, Ueno.”
She made an infuriated, unintelligible sound and crowded in close, jabbing a finger into Ryouma’s chest. “You can rot demons the size of a mountain!” Then she jabbed her finger at Kakashi’s face. “And you can cut lightning in half! Why the festering hell do you both look like chuunin who got dragged ass-backward through an A-rank?”
Ryouma didn’t retreat a step, but he did lean back from her accusing finger. “Hey,” he said, looking plaintively down at her through the eyeholes in his mask. “I’m doing better than last time.”
Last time he’d almost drowned in a rot lake of his own making. Katsuko snarled, “Not good enough.”
Kakashi unlocked an arm from around Ryouma’s neck, slipping a little, and wrapped ice cold fingers around Katsuko’s hand. “‘s your arm broken again?”
“Are you broken again?” Katsuko demanded, covering her surprise with more anger.
He dropped his head back down on Ryouma shoulder, good eye sliding shut. He mumbled, “Little bit. Won, though.”
Katsuko only needed to look at the shape Genma, Kakashi and Ryouma were in to see how narrow of a victory it had been. She swallowed another surge of relief and glared at Ryouma. “Stay still,” she ordered. “Don’t move. Don’t even think about moving. The two of you aren’t leaving my sight for the next twenty-four hours.” She didn’t wait to see if Ryouma would obey, just turned and stalked away like an offended cat.
“Lieutenant,” Katsuko said, stopping in front of Genma. She took in the hastily healed cut on his arm and the still-bleeding lacerations on his face, his broken nose, and his two black eyes, and struggled to say something that wouldn’t shoot straight over the line and land somewhere deep in insubordination territory. “You are late.”
Genma was the same color as his breastplate, but the unflappable, sardonic eyebrow lift was as strong as ever. He glanced at his watch, and then at her. "We're not really late until 0400. But we are tired. Let's get inside and you can finish yelling at us there."
“Right,” Katsuko said, after biting her tongue on the first three things she wanted to say. I’m glad you’re not dead was one of them, but she was still angry and everyone on her team needed to know that, superior officer or not. She glanced at Raidou, who’d been watching in skeptical silence while she upbraided the others, and then over at Ryouma’s clone, which still had a blindfolded person slung over its shoulder. “Who’s the prisoner?”