He rose to his feet. “About four seconds in, but I was waiting to see if you’d come clean.” He took the risk on ruffling her wild hair. “And you didn’t, so you get to pay for noodles.”
“Why don’t we play janken for the bill instead?” Katsuko tried, slipping out from under his hand after a brief hesitation.
“Yeah, no,” said Raidou. “These captain hands just packed your house. You can buy me dinner.”
“Noooooo,” Katsuko whined, in a little waterfall of complaint. She sighed. “Fine. You take advantage of my generous heart.”
“With pleasure,” Raidou said cheerfully.
Katsuko tossed her hands up, broke a piece of her dense chakra into five argumentative clones, and sent them off with her wallet and orders for increasingly disturbing sounding noodle-dishes. Her apartment was lacking in anything like seating, barring one three-legged stool with a drunken list. Raidou glanced at the bed, at Katsuko, and bit the corner of his lip.
“I can sit on the floor,” he said.
She rolled her eyes, dragged the covers and pillows off the bed, and scattered them in a chaotic bird’s nest on the carpet. “We’re watching Kamiyama-sama and the Eight Ronin,” she said, with a tone that suggested he could eat alone in the hallway if he disagreed.
“We saw it nine times,” he said. “You took Isamu and Mitarou to see it four more times after that!”
“Because it’s awesome,” she said, with rapture that concerned him on a basic level. “The fight scenes are so bad.”
“Every time I watch it, I can feel pieces of my soul dying.”
“I know,” she said, flopping down on the softest part of the nest and sprawling. “It makes me happy.”
He snorted a laugh and sat down at arm’s reach, bracing his back against the bedframe. Unsurprisingly, Katsuko already had the movie cued. She probably fell asleep to it, warm in the glow of terrible cinematic murder.
The title card splashed across the screen, blood red, set to a background of screaming.
“I hate you so much,” said Raidou.
Katsuko propped her bare feet on his shin, slouching down against a cluster of pillows. She laced long, scarred fingers together over her flat stomach, and let out a long, slow sigh—tension release. Some of the edge, visible only in its sudden absence, went out of her. “You love me,” she said comfortably.
“I tolerate you,” he said.
His mouth hooked up against his will. “Sometimes.”
The first six people died on-screen; one of them literally exploded.
“Hey, Rai,” she said, after a moment. “This new team—can I be responsible for torturing the new rookies?”
She smiled, eyes half-lidding. Her legs were suddenly heavier, resting actual weight on him. “Okay,” she said.
He rubbed her knee, gentle-handed, and then pointed at the screen when someone’s jaw went flying. “Oh, come on.”