|[Jul. 9th, 2017|10:01 pm]|
The couch couldn't be seen from the door, but even so, there was a brief flurry of startled activity before Genma made it to his feet. Kin slid away, looking reproachful. Ryouma tightened his fingers on the back of Kakashi's neck, then dropped his hand. |
"We're coming," he said.
"It can't be anything internal," Genma said, as if he were trying to convince himself. "If Kuroda wanted to have another go at me, he'd come here himself, or summon me to his office. Maybe, uh, my dad wants something."
He glanced at the door, but the runner must have already headed off on their rounds; Pakkun was turning away, yawning again. Genma grabbed a senbon out of a pencil holder on his desk and clamped it between his teeth.
"You can come if you want," he said. "But it's probably nothing."
Like hell it was nothing. Ryouma could see the tendons on the back of Genma's hands. He pushed to his feet. "I like your dad. We can get dorayaki."
Genma's mouth tilted around the senbon, but the smile didn't reach anywhere near his eyes. "Yeah. My dad likes you too." He glanced at Raidou and Kakashi. "Hell, we can all go get dorayaki. And probably some safety charms. I think Dad picked some up at the temple for everyone while we were in Water Country."
"That's sweet," Raidou said.
Kakashi said, "That's weird."
"That's Dad." Genma shrugged, stiff-shouldered, and turned for the door.
There were no shortcuts through ANBU HQ's mazelike hallways, no windows, no signals of time or direction. Ryouma still got lost sometimes, on floors he didn't know. They walked quickly, the click of dogs' nails lost in the dull carpeting, taking the stairs up to the lobby instead of waiting for the lift.
A skinny genin waited by the front desk, soaked to the skin and still slightly dripping. Ryouma threw a startled look out the lobby doors. The morning's sunshine had fled; lightning-lit rain lashed the hard-packed ground outside. Genma's pace quickened.
"I'm Shiranui," he said. "What's the message?"
The genin straightened automatically, then took a wary second glance at their muddy training gear. She seemed disappointed; maybe she'd expected full armor and masks here in ANBU HQ. But she recited her message in a professional, well-rehearsed monotone.
"Watanuki-san sends her regards and apologies. The contractor working on the roof slipped in the storm and has gone to the hospital. Watanuki-san expects work to be significantly delayed unless, perhaps, Shiranui-san finds himself at leisure to meet earlier than arranged…" She trailed off, but added brightly, "Watanuki-san told me to pause significantly there."
"Who's Watanuki-san?" Ryouma asked, bewildered.
"My new landlord," Genma said distractedly. He tugged the blood-crusted collar of his shirt and asked the genin, "Did she mean now? She probably meant now. Uh… tell her I'll be there in half an hour." He added, to his teammates, "I need to get cleaned up."
"You'd clean up for your landlord but not the Commander?" Ryouma asked.
"New landlord," Genma said.
Evidently, he needed to make a good first impression.