Chapter 10- The Kiss
"You're not going to believe what I have to tell you." He leveled his gaze at his Hokage. He trusted her implicitly, as she trusted him. He related the story of the nightmare and explained the scratches on his face. Then he told her what Kiyoko had told him about her captivity.
"Do you think she could be lying?" Tsunade didn't think it was likely. You didn't fake nightmares like the one Raido had described.
"I don't think so. She was terrified last night."
There was a knock at the door.
"Who is it?" Tsunade called out.
"Shizune and Genma, back with your information."
"Come in!" She looked at Raido. "This will answer some questions."
Shizune and Genma came in and Genma's senbon pin drooped to the point of almost falling out of his mouth.
"Did you wrestle a cat Raido? I told you to leave that old lady's cat alone."
"Shut up Genma."
Genma scowled, Raido's sense of humor had certainly taken a nosedive.
"Kiyoko had a nightmare last night, she did this when I tried to wake her up. I'm sorry." Raido felt bad. Genma had been his friend through a lot and he deserved better than that.
"Wow. It's ok. I get it. She's had a hard time. Yesterday when I came back she was sitting in that chair looking like she would rather be in a cave with an angry bear. My heart went out to her too."
Tsunade looked at her two favorite guards, they wouldn't think twice about ripping someone limb from limb if they thought the village was in danger and yet they both seemed to have taken a protective interest in this woman. "Raido, we can heal the scratches on your face"
"Don't worry about it."
"So tell me what you learned." Tsunade addressed this to Genma and Shizune.
"Her story checks out. We didn't get all the way to Takegakure but we ran into many people in the villages in between that had stories of two fat men looking for their servant. We didn't find them though."
Tsunade sighed. "Alright then." She filled them both in on what Raido had told her about Kiyoko's nightmare and then said "Iruka said he could use help, she would also be close to someone in the academy and we could keep an eye on her. It's a win-win situation. Iruka should be here soon. Raido would you collect Kiyoko and tell Sakura she is free to go if she wants."
"Sure." Raido took off to get her.
He found them sitting on the steps drinking hot chocolate and laughing together. "Kiyoko, you can come back in now. Sakura, Lady Tsunade says you're free to go if you want."
"Ok thanks Raido! See you soon Kiyoko." She smiled sweetly at the woman who was ten years older than her but seemed so young right now.
Raido waited until Kiyoko had stood up and then turned to lead her back into the building. As he did he saw Iruka coming up the stairs. "Hello Iruka."
Iruka looked at Raido and then the young woman next to him. "Hello Raido, how are you? This must be Kiyoko, my new assistant?"
Kiyoko wasn't sure what to make of this. "Hello. Iruka? Yes, I'm Kiyoko. But I don't know if I'm your new assistant." She laughed nervously.
Iruka laughed easily "Well, lets go see Lady Tsunade and hear what she has to say."
The three of them made their way back into the office and stood before Tsunade's desk. Kiyoko tried her best to hide her nervousness.
"Kiyoko, this is Iruka. He teaches at the academy where we train our youth. Recently the teacher who worked with him, teaching reading and math had to leave and he's had his hands full trying to keep up. You seem smart and you mentioned that you had taught before. I thought that it might be a good place for you. Do you agree?"
Kiyoko was overjoyed. She'd loved the time she had spent teaching. "Oh yes Lady Hokage! Thank you." She turned to Iruka "I hope I'm good enough. This village is different than Iwagakure."
Iruka smiled at her, "Yes but we all have to read and write and you seem perfect for the job." He seemed so reassuring, she wondered if there were any mean ninja in the village.
They had finalized the details and arranged for Raido to drop her off at the academy in the morning. Just as they were leaving Tsunade had said "Oh. I think I found a place for you to live too. It isn't much but it's clean and safe. I'll know for sure tomorrow."
"Thank you, again. I don't need much." Kiyoko realized that meant she'd probably be on her own tomorrow night. Which meant she had to get through tonight on her own. She wondered if talking about it had helped any. She had slept after that but it had been near Raido that she had finally been able to fall asleep.
Raido turned to her "Now lets go. I'm hungry and I'm sure you are too."
They said goodbye to everyone and they headed out into the late afternoon and back to his place.
When they got there he sat at the bar again and she started dinner. Making small talk as she cooked.
"Iruka seems nice enough. I wonder if there are any mean ninja here or if you're all nice. I can't imagine any one of you hurting anyone."
Raido laughed "Don't you believe it. There isn't a ninja in the village that would hesitate to take a life in defense of someone."
He looked up at her, "Have I what?"
"Yes. I am an assassin Kiyoko."
"I know. I just hadn't really thought about it."
"I wish I'd killed Fumio and Kin when they were in front of me. But that's not our way here. At the time they hadn't given me a reason to kill them. Unless you count stupidity." They both started laughing at that.
She served them both dinner and sat down across from him. "You'll probably be glad to have your place back, and be able to sleep through the night."
He shrugged, actually he thought he might miss her. "Sleep is overrated. And I don't need much of it. How do you think you'll do?"
"I don't know. I haven't slept through the night without a nightmare since you found me. I think I need to try it on my own tonight."
"What is the nightmare exactly?"
"It's always the same. Fumio or Kin coming at me, trying to kiss me." She blushed. "It seems silly doesn't it?"
"Not at all. Don't you have any good kisses you can remember, from a boy you liked maybe? It might overpower the nightmare of those two?"
She shook her head sadly. "They're the only men who have ever kissed me Raido. How lame is that? Twentyeight and the only kisses I've ever had came from Fumio and Kin." She sighed.
Raido looked at her with surprise. "But..."
"But what? I was busy taking care of my father and my brothers, and our farm wasn't exactly in town. Who would I have kissed? The goat? Although he might have been a better kisser." She laughed at the thought and Raido realized she was trying to lighten the mood which had gotten quite dark.
Raido laughed, "I don't know. I never kissed a goat either. Although I might end up doing it if Genma thinks of it." He got serious again. "I mean it Kiyoko when I say I want to help. If you need me, even in the middle of the night just come over."
They had cleaned up from dinner and visited some more. Now they were settling down for the night.
Kiyoko collected her stuff, "do you mind if I take a shower?"
"Not at all." He retrieved a towel for her and gave it to her. And then sat down to think while she was busy. She had gotten to him. All he could think of was holding her and protecting her from the demons that currently resided in her head. It wasn't that he thought he was in love, more that he wanted to protect her. He was a guard for heaven's sake, of course he wanted to protect her. At least that's what he kept telling himself.
She came out of the bathroom with her hair curling around her shoulders from the dampness left in it and in her new sleepwear, a pair of capris that were pink with little hearts on them and a t-shirt that was red with a matching heart design on it. He sighed, at least it wasn't too distracting. She sat down next to him on the couch.
"I have an idea."
He looked at her, she looked unsure of herself again and he wondered what she'd thought up.
"You know how I said Fumio's and Kin's kisses were the only ones I'd ever had?"
"Yeah." Raido tried to guess where this was going.
"Well, I thought maybe if I had a nice kiss," she was blushing terribly and she could feel it as her face heated up. "You know, not a romantic one or anything, just not a terrible one..."
Raido sighed, this girl...what was he going to do. "And you want me to do that?" He wondered if he could do that. She was beautiful and he wasn't going to lie to himself and say he wasn't attracted to her but he didn't want to take advantage of her either.
"Never mind. It was a stupid idea." She turned away, she was so embarrassed she wished she could just disappear into a hole.
"No. You just caught me by surprise, that's all. It's a good idea, really." He leaned closer to her but she hesitated and pulled back a little. "Don't worry. I won't hurt you." His voice was deep and quiet and it lulled her fear into submission. One of his hands caught hers and the other reached around and cupped her head pulling her closer to him. Then his lips were on hers, gently pressing themselves to her. She gasped and then relaxed. He deepened the kiss a bit leaning in a little more, pulling her closer to him. Emotion swirled within her, making her stomach flip flop and her heart race. She wanted to lean into him more, she didn't want the kiss to ever end, she hadn't known a kiss could be like that. She didn't know what to do but Raido didn't seem to notice her lack of experience as he kissed her a second time. Her lips parted and a small moan escaped her.
That was when Raido came to his senses. He pulled back thinking it might be a good idea for him to take a shower now. "How was that?" He looked at her. She was in shock but didn't seem upset.
"Umm. Amaz.. I mean that was good." She could feel how hot her face was. And she got the impression that Raido was very uncomfortable. "I think I should try and sleep now."
Raido smiled at her, it had been his turn to catch her off guard, although he hadn't meant to. "I think that's a good idea. I'm going to shower and go to bed too. Don't hesitate to wake me if you need me."
But she hadn't. She had slept straight through the night and now Raido was emerging from his room yawning and stretching to wake up. "Good morning."