Genma turned slowly, both brows raised. "I won't refuse the help, but if I'm likely to die by roof, aren't all of us in the same danger?"
"Kakashi can channel lightning," Ryouma pointed out. "He'll be useful. And I can carry things."
The Lieutenant Eyebrows lowered. Genma shrugged rueful acceptance. "If you're coming, it's in block nine of the warehouse district."
Kakashi headed for the door, watching lightning ripple across the sky with a gleam in his eye. Kin barrelled out into the rain as soon as he had the door open. Pakkun sat up, tail thumping gently, and told the genin, "You may carry me, small human."
"Oh." She looked genuinely tempted. "I have other messages. I'm sorry! Your ears are so soft."
Ryouma had never seen a dog preen before, but Pakkun managed it.
He sighed, scooped up the pug, and tucked Pakkun under his tee-shirt. Genma and Raidou were almost out the door, following Kakashi. "Stay here until the rain lets up," Ryouma advised the genin.
She squared her shoulders. "I have messages."
She'd make jounin someday.
"Good luck, then," Ryouma told her, and darted out into the rain.
He was soaked instantly. Pakkun's hard little claws scrabbled against his chest, finding a comfortable perch; his head popped briefly out of the collar of Ryouma's shirt, then retreated. "Wouldn't object to a translocation," he rumbled.
"My stomach would," Ryouma told him. He narrowed his eyes to slits, focusing on distant figures in the rain. Kakashi had translocated. It figured.
The run to block nine of the warehouse district was fast and slippery and very, very wet. Most of Konoha's citizens had cleared off the streets, waiting out the storm in their homes or restaurants or beneath shop awnings. Ryouma skidded on street corners, streaked over puddles, and arrived at a long, two-storey building with a concrete-block lower floor and a traditional wooden first storey. Missing tiles gaped on its slanted roof. Near the ridgeline, an enormous hole yawned. A slim, dark figure crouched next to it, and chakra itched at Ryouma's senses.
The officers were down below, crowded into a narrow entry porch behind sliding wooden doors. A round, middle-aged woman in a drenched happi coat was trying to explain.
"The floor's rotten there, Shiranui-san, that's why we postponed your move-in, but after the last storm we had to get the roof fixed first, and now Mitsui-san's gone and broken his leg—"
Genma's shoulders sagged in relief.
A heavy drip plopped between Ryouma's shoulders. He looked up at the leaden sky, between missing roof tiles. "So rent's half-off for the first six months, right?"
Genma glanced sharply back at him. The senbon clicked between his teeth, an exasperated sound Ryouma already knew. "Watanuki-san and I have an agreement about my rent, provided I complete the interior renovations. If my team and I add in the roof…" He eyed her expectantly.
Apparently negotiations were best left to the master. Ryouma shrugged, eased Pakkun out of his shirt, and set the pug on his feet in a dry corner. After a second's thought, he peeled out of his sodden shirt, too, and hung it on a protruding nail.
Watanuki-san stared at him.
"We can come back on a sunny day, too," Ryouma told her, and headed out to join Kakashi on the roof.