Raidou rectified that quickly, and a host of other new experiences: ripping up rotten floorboards, clambering between joists, pulling nails with a cat's-paw prybar and hammering them in again to strengthen a damaged joist with a heavy 'scab' board. They tracked down the nearest load-bearing beam and stood on it together — first Ryouma, then Kakashi and the clone — until Raidou determined it was capable of safely supporting the lieutenant's home.
The still, muggy air grew hotter as they worked. Kakashi cracked a window, but rain swirled through until the wind blew it shut. Raidou peeled off his shirt. Kakashi kept his shirt and mask, stubbornly, though a dark patch of sweat spread between his shoulderblades.
By the time Genma returned, they were bickering over the orientation of the new floorboards.
"Smooth side up," Ryouma insisted, skimming his palm over the flat, heavy board. "D'you want the lieutenant getting splinters in his toes?"
Kakashi rolled his eye. "They're both the smooth side. You have to sand them down afterwards."
"They won't match," Ryouma said, looking at the dark, age-polished expanse of boards stretching toward the kitchen area.
Raidou huffed amusement. "We'll stain 'em. Watch your fingers, Tousaki."
"You guys work fast," Genma said from the stairs. "Goto-san is downstairs checking the wiring. The power is probably going to come on and go off a few times." He picked his way through the detritus of rotten boards and bent nails to stop near their expanded hole, hefting a pair of heavy, clinking bags. "Drinks. And ice."
"I'm coming." Pakkun burst out of the bathtub, where he and Kin had taken shelter on the cooler surface, and galloped for the kitchen sink.
Genma's mouth crooked. "Maybe I should have bought more beer."
"Beer?" Ryouma straightened hopefully.
"Down, Tousaki," Raidou told him. "Finish the floor first."
Hammering was starting to lose its appeal. But Genma dumped the ice in the sink, stashed the drinks — and Pakkun — inside, and came back, shedding his rain-resoaked shirt as well. His torso was pale in the dimness, leanly muscled. He took the spare hammer from the clone, stuck two nails between his lips, and knelt down beside Raidou at the far edge of the hole.
Raidou's skin was summer-brown already, evenly tanned over solid, sharp-cut muscle. Genma had the ANBU tan: darker shoulders, ivory chest. The ridged scar on his belly was still pink with newness. His clone hefted a board off the stack and levered it down, and Raidou and Genma leaned in together to slot it against the next.
Ryouma looked away. "Think we can beat 'em?" he asked Kakashi, half at random.
Kakashi pushed sweaty hair off his forehead with the back of his wrist. "At stacking wood or not wearing shirts?"
"I can't wear less shirts," Ryouma said. "Unless you're chipping in…"
"Fewer," Pakkun called from the kitchen sink. "Someone open this beer for me?"
"Can someone," Kakashi corrected right back. "And no. You're not helping. No beer for you."