“We’ve still gotta master Iebara’s jutsu,” Ryouma offered.
“I can help with that, too,” Genma said. “And teach you some fairly speciality stuff about poisons.”
“Any time you want to polish your taijutsu,” Raidou said.
In anyone else, it would have just been a comfort. There are still things. We can help. For Kakashi, it was like applying a live wire. His head turned, electric interest kindling in his visible eye. He said, “Now? No, tomorrow. We’re free tomorrow?”
Ryouma said, “Which one? All of them?”
Pakkun gave a whiskey-laugh. “Of course all of them. Before lunch.”
Kakashi’s eye curved.
Apparently it was as simple as that, for once. Relieved, Raidou took a sip of his beer and said, “We can start morning practice with taijutsu and blood-death, see where the day takes us.”
“Poisons for lunch,” Ryouma agreed, with cheerful fatalism. “More getting our heads kicked in before dinner. Maybe we can get the lieutenant’s bathroom walled in, too.”
A month ago, that would have been genuine protest. Today, Raidou suspected that if the answer had been we start tonight, Ryouma would have jumped in with both feet.
Genma drained the remainder of his beer, set the bottle down, and angled himself to look at Raidou directly. “Ueno told me to make sure to look out for you. So… are you doing all right?”
Raidou blinked. Should’ve seen that one coming. But he didn’t brush it aside. Everyone else had been honest. He looked inward for a moment, sifting down through the strata of worried-about-Genma, furious-at-Kuroda, dear-god-rookies, should-it-be-this-hard? “Yes,” he said at last. “I’m sad; I miss her. I’m worried for her in Iwa. But she’s got a strong team. She’ll command them well.” He felt his mouth tilt. “Probably we should be more concerned for Iwa.”
That drew a collective group snort. General feeling among Konoha’s adult shinobi was that Iwa could blow itself off the map and the rest of the world wouldn’t miss it.
“I wish she hadn’t gone,” Raidou said. “But she’ll come back, eventually, and we’ll have some good stories to tell her.”
“She won’t be on Team Six again, though,” Ryouma said.
“No, she won’t,” Genma said. “But Team Six will be a team she can be proud of having helped launch.”
Raidou tilted his bottle, trapping sunset light in the glass. “I’ll drink to that.”
“Me, too,” Pakkun said, hopeful.
Kakashi handed Ryouma the beer he hadn’t drunk, and Pakkun re-draped himself very definitely over Ryouma’s knee. There was an ease about the three of them that hadn’t been there this morning. Kin had settled contentedly, head still resting on Kakashi’s ankle. Her eyes were half-closed. Kakashi’s hand rested on the back of her neck.
Genma eyed his own empty bottle. “You’ll have to share.”
Wordlessly, Raidou took a drink and handed the rest of his beer across. “One request,” he said.
Genma lifted an eyebrow.
“Hatake doesn’t get to poison any of us while you’re teaching him,” Raidou said.
“Aww,” Kakashi said sadly.
Ryouma tugged on Kakashi’s hair, winning a yelp. Genma laughed softly, cradling the beer Raidou had given him, on the roof of his rebuilt home with his restructured team, and said, “No promises.” After a judicious moment, he added, “But I’ll make sure to have plenty of antidote on me.”