|[Jul. 9th, 2017|10:38 pm]|
Puzzled, Raidou asked, “Was that a life goal?” |
“If she had to stay in ANBU until she was willing to hug me, she would probably have died in her armor and mask at ninety-nine,” Genma said, squeezing and then releasing Ryouma.
Ryouma tilted him a smile that looked almost real. “She’s missing out.”
The setting sun had already glimmered pink over Genma’s cheeks, but now he turned outright red. He looked down at his feet for several moments, then said quietly, “If I’m honest, I’m pissed she got yanked off the team, too. I was looking forward to seeing her go command some day. She was—” He broke off, regrouped. “We’re a good team without her, but we were a good team with her. I don’t know what she really wanted, and I didn’t have any influence on her decision regardless, but I wanted her to stay.”
It wasn’t the first time Genma had shown them the unvarnished, un-lieutenant side of himself — that ship had sailed when he’d danced in a see-through shirt, and worse, when he’d broken down on the last mission — but it was the first time he’d done it sober, without duress, just to share a small piece of truth.
Raidou said, “I did, too.”
Ryouma nodded once, mouth drawn down. Raidou glanced at Kakashi, who sat slightly apart from them. Kin had slunk over to rest her head on Kakashi’s foot. Her tail fanned anxiously.
Raidou said, “Hatake?”
He didn’t really expect an answer, but after a quiet moment, Kakashi said bleakly, “She was going to teach me Hyoho Niten.”
Ah. Right, Genma had mentioned something about that.
Katsuko’s family sword style. That was months of practice, perhaps years. A gift, once offered and accepted, that forged a commitment. Neither Katsuko or Kakashi would approach that lightly.
Or take the loss of it lightly, either.
Raidou thought of his own genjutsu training with Benihime and Kurenai. Ryouma and Genma’s blossoming medical apprenticeship. They’d come together around the same time — granted, for very different reasons — but they’d meant growth for everyone. And Kakashi, with his endless hunger for knowledge…
Hadn’t said a word. He’d burned his letter, and put his focus into helping Ryouma study.
Ryouma shifted, eased Pakkun out of his lap, and moved down the roofline to settle next to Kakashi. Not quite touching, but a wall at Kakashi’s side. Kakashi tipped his head and gave Ryouma an ironic, I-see-what-you’re-doing look. Ryouma shrugged.
Kakashi’s fingers ghosted over Kin’s head. “There are other things to learn.”