|[Jul. 9th, 2017|10:21 pm]|
They seemed to be having a moment, so Kakashi dropped down next to where Ryouma had seated himself — close to the drying patch of new floor — and asked, “Where did you learn about silk production?” |
“Mission,” Ryouma said. “Guarding a silk-worm dealer in Mangrove Country, after the war. Those cartels are fierce.”
Kakashi digested that. “Were the worms grateful?”
Ryouma gave him a sidelong look. “If you’re asking whether they tried to seduce me, I’ve gotta say no legs is just as bad as too many,” he said blandly. “Also, my max for an orgy is, like, eight.”
Grateful took a strange shape in Ryouma’s world.
“Eight legs or eight worms?” Kakashi asked. “Bearing in mind that either answer is going to lead to more questions.”
“Eight legs’d be four people. Or, what, one scorpion-demon an’ me?” Ryouma tilted his head thoughtfully. “You saw the lieutenant and the demon queen. I’ll bow to the voice of experience.”
The demon queen had only had six legs, unless Ryouma was also including the pincers. And Kakashi was starting to suspect this conversation had gotten away from him.
“I don’t think that’s an experience the lieutenant wants me to share,” he said. “Do people never just say thank you?”
Ryouma said sunnily, “One time I got paid in soap instead!”
Kakashi snorted laughter. “Remind me to send them worms.” He hesitated for an undecided moment, then carefully propped himself against Ryouma’s shoulder, where he could watch the captain and lieutenant discuss important matters, like silk gods and bathroom studs.
Ryouma didn’t stiffen. He just tugged the damp hair at Kakashi’s temple. “What, you’d rather I smell like death all the time instead of only half the time?”
“I’d rather you didn’t smell like a candy-flower factory threw up on a morgue,” Kakashi said. “What’s wrong with scentless soap?
Ryouma straightened up abruptly. “They’re not that bad, are they? I like ‘em.”
Kakashi scratched the back of his head. It occurred to him, in all the times that he’d criticized Ryouma’s love of soap, he’d never actually explained why.
“I know other people like them,” he said. “For me, for dogs, probably for Inuzuka, scent tells you a lot about a person. What they like, where they’ve been, if they’re healthy. Covering that up… makes you less personlike.” He wrinkled his nose. “You smell nice, mostly. When you smell like death, you’re supposed to.”
Ryouma stared. “I’m not sure if that’s creepy or sweet. Maybe both.” Kakashi shrugged. After another beat, Ryouma offered, “Are there soaps you dislike less?”
“The fruit ones aren’t so bad,” Kakashi admitted. “And the herb ones.”
“Less like a lady’s bedroom?” Ryouma settled back and gave Kakashi a crooked smile. “Okay. I can do that.”
Someday, Kakashi was actually going to remember that explanations — even short ones — went a long way with Ryouma. He leaned more heavily against Ryouma’s shoulder, ignoring the fact that it was naked and sweat-streaked. “I’d offer to change one of my annoying habits, but there are only so many hours in the day.”
“I’d need most of ‘em just to decide on one,” Ryouma said, without bite.
Kakashi elbowed Ryouma in the ribs, mostly on principle, and tilted his head at the ceiling. The thunder was beginning to quiet again, slinking towards the horizon. The static pressure of lightning was easing off. Kakashi held back a sigh and resisted the urge to go storm-chasing.
Kin had snuck over to sit between Genma and Raidou, tail thumping the boards as she listened to an animated conversation about bathroom fixtures. Raidou rubbed an absent hand over her ears. A moment later, Genma scratched the soft fur between her eyes. Kakashi felt his mouth tilt.
Pakkun splashed over in the sink. “If the work is done for the day, can I point out that there is beer in this sink that I am not drinking? Because someone needs to fix that.”