“That can happen,” Genma said calmly, eyes level and steady. “Especially if it was a well-crafted genjutsu.” He unfolded and twisted around to reach for a mug, ladling some of the clones’ tea experiment into it. He handed it to Raidou and sat back. “Wonder what the other teams ran into, seeing as we wrecked a port and took down an unkillable Bingo Book monster.”
Raidou choked on a mouthful of lukewarm green tea syrup. He coughed, whacked himself in the center of the chest—which, ow, Namiashi, don’t do that again—and managed not to sneeze matcha. “If they went bigger than us, they deserve a medal.” He peered down into the mug. “This is gruesome.”
Genma gave a sympathetic wince—and then a second one, when that visibly hurt his nose. They really needed to fix that. “It helps if you pretend it’s shave ice syrup, but yeah. Might be the worst matcha in the history of tea.”
“I think my teeth are buzzing,” Raidou said.
Genma chuckled quietly, and Raidou realized that was it: the lieutenant wasn’t going to push, he was just going to give Raidou terrible hot beverages and silent support. Verbal support even, if you counted that crack about other teams.
Some of whom were probably going home in body bags.
It occurred to Raidou that Yondaime-sama probably wasn’t going to give a good goddamn about the state of anything, so long as Team Six came home breathing.
That was a thought to hang onto.
He slugged the rest of the tea back, because it was sugar and calories and he needed both, and set the mug down. “Bed for you, doc, soon as we get Tousaki to reset your nose. Fukuda can wait until morning.” Or afternoon. Dawn would be creeping up on them soon. “I’ll give her a look-in to make sure she hasn’t tried to drown herself in her bucket.”
“You should give her another hit of morphine,” Genma said, withdrawing a syrette from his med-kit. He hesitated, then pulled out another. “And you’d better give me one, too.”
The subtext of that was pretty clear: I’m in significant pain and I’d like it to stop now, please.
Wordlessly, Raidou took both syrettes, flipped one around, and punched the needle neatly into the broad muscle of Genma’s good leg. Genma paused, eyebrow lifting, and gave him a mild look that, on another man, would have been aggrieved. “I didn’t mean right this second. You could have at least let me finish my tea.”
“Thought I was saving you from it,” Raidou said. He pulled the spent syrette back and clipped the red-flagged empty vial to Genma’s shirt. Visible reminder that he’d taken a dose, since none of them were liable to keep all the facts straight.
Genma threw back the rest of his tea, gave a delicate shudder, and placed his mug carefully on the stamped dirt floor. “I’m starting to see why Ueno doesn’t get the cooking detail.”
“She has other skills.” Raidou pushed himself up, and stooped to haul Genma out of the chair, which folded up with a vicious snap as soon as the lieutenant’s weight lifted free. Genma staggered once, reaching to unhook his IV bag; Raidou steadied him, drawing one of Genma’s lean-muscled arms over his own shoulders. They set off at a slow, hobbled pace back to the bunk-room, where the kids waited.
“Thanks,” Raidou said quietly, halfway there.
Genma’s mouth tilted in a tired, good-natured curve. “Any time.”