Chapter 14- We All Have Friends
Genma was pretty sure he'd never understand girls. "Sure, tea would be great."
Kiyoko got up and went to make tea. "Genma, I'm sorry. I know I'm being confusing right now. Please don't worry. It's just that I'm so confused right now and I can't seem to think it through. I think you're right, it just needs time."
"Can we mark that down?"
She looked at him questioningly.
"That I was right. Actually, I'd like you tell everyone you meet, Genma was right. They might believe you." He was grinning as he said this.
Kiyoko knew he was teasing and she started laughing too. She brought two cups of tea over and gave him one. "So can you tell me about any of the missions you've been on or anything?"
"Not really. Most missions are more travel than action. And the action can be pretty intense and sometimes bloody."
"Yeah. No boring missions? Like searching for Nemo?" She smiled.
"Did Raido tell you about that? Traitor." They both laughed. "Hey, did you have dinner plans?"
"Actually, I'm pretty tired. I think I'll just eat something here and then go to bed early."
"I understand, it be tiring, chasing those wild little things called children around all day. Better you than me."
"They're not that bad. And Iruka is very good with them."
"I'll take your word on that one. But I guess that's my cue to leave. Did you want me to walk you to work tomorrow?"
"I think I can find it on my own now. But thank you."
"No problem. See you later then." Genma got up to leave as he said this and let himself out.
Kiyoko pondered the afternoon she'd had. The monument, her tears, and Genma's statement Raido's not avoiding you. What had he meant by that? It was clear to her that some people knew something and that they weren't telling her. She felt left out.
She shrugged to herself and got up to make her supper. When she had eaten and washed up the dishes she got changed for bed and crawled into her bed, wishing she had a book to read.
Instead she thought of Raido's kiss. It hadn't been a passionate one, just a simple kiss but she had reacted to it so strongly. Was that normal? When a man you thought was attractive kissed you did you always react the way she had? Or was it because she was falling in love with him? She wished there was someone she could ask about that. She fell asleep with the memory of Raido's lips in her mind.
When she woke up she realized Genma had been right. She felt better already and she was looking forward to work. She ate and got dressed, looking forward to the positive attitude Iruka always seemed to have.
She wasn't disappointed when she got to work.
Iruka greeted her with a smile. "Hello Kiyoko! Did you have a good evening with Genma? He behaved himself didn't he?"
"Yes I had a good evening and yes he behaved himself. He just wanted to show me some of the village and visit a bit."
"He's a nice guy, even if we do give him a hard time."
"He'd have to be to put with me last night."
Iruka looked at her and was about to ask her what she meant but the children started arriving and he decided to ask later.
Today they split the children up into two groups, Iruka took his group outside for training and Kiyoko kept hers for math and reading and then they switched. It seemed to work well.
At the end of the day, as they were cleaning up, Iruka said, "Kiyoko, did you have plans for dinner?"
"Not really. I was just going to go home. Does Konoha have a library? I'd love a book to read and I'm afraid I can't afford to buy any right now."
"We do. I can bring you there before we eat. I was thinking we might get bento boxes or something and eat by the river. My treat."
"Ok. Sounds good. I really appreciate it."
They were walking to the river, books and bento boxes in hand, chatting.
"So what did Genma show you yesterday?"
"He took me to the monument. And then we went to my place and had tea. We mostly just talked. And I cried."
"You cried? Did Genma make you cry? Was it the monument?"
"No. It was just me being a girl. I'm ok. I just can't figure out how I feel."
"How you feel about what?"
"About everything that's happened in the past few weeks, losing my family, and meeting Raido, and everyone else." She added everyone else but she knew it was mostly Raido that she meant.
"Why do you have to decide today? Take each day one day at a time and see what it brings."
Kiyoko looked up at Iruka, "That was very nice. Thank you. I guess I never thought I'd lose my family. Do you know why I'm here?" She had whispered this last part, it was so embarrassing.
"I do. I hope you don't feel bad but because you would be working with me Lady Tsunade felt I should know."
"It makes sense, I am working with children. I'd want to protect them too. I feel like I can't go back to Iwagakure, my stepmother will accuse me of lying or worse. But at the same time I wonder what she will tell my father and brothers when they come back. I'll never see them again." She could feel the tears threatening to let go in her eyes and she swiped them away with the back of her hand.
"Here we are. Shall we sit?" They sat facing the river. "Kiyoko, did you see all the names on the monument last night?"
"Yes, I know. And Genma told me that he had friends there, and so does Kakashi and everyone else here. But I wasn't raised expecting to lose my whole family, especially the way I did. And I am not adjusting to it. I miss Raido. It seems like he's avoiding me even though Genma, and everyone else, says he isn't and I'm tired. I'm tired of expecting to see those two jerks around every corner and worrying that they're still looking for me."
Iruka leaned over a little and bumped her shoulder with his. "Then I shouldn't tell you that Raido's not avoiding you?"
"NO!" She laughed, playfully punching him in the shoulder.
But Iruka was quiet again. "Did Genma show you my parent's names on the monument?"
Kiyoko gasped and looked up in horror. "No. Are they there? Why?"
"It's been a long time. The nine tailed fox attacked our village and my parents died in the attack."
"That's terrible Iruka! I'm so sorry!"
"It is. But I'm here and I'm ok. You will be too."
She leaned into his shoulder. "I must sound so selfish."
"Not at all. The pain is fresh for you. But I promise, it will get better. And someday you might be able to go find your family."
"I know. Thank you. For being a friend. I needed one tonight."
"No problem." Iruka looked over at her with a teasing smile, "by two jerks did you mean Genma and Raido?"
She giggled, "you know who I meant. Do you think they might come here? Looking for me? Does Konoha get visitors like that?"
"We do get visitors but they wouldn't dare come here looking for you. There are laws here against slavery and everyone knows it."
"Well, that's comforting. Will you walk me home?"
"I'd love to."
As they walked to her apartment they both thought of what they talked about. When they got there Kiyoko turned to Iruka. "Thank you again. I can't believe I'm so lucky to have made friends so quickly."
"That's just how Konoha is, Kiyoko." Iruka smiled, "And I know you don't want to hear this but, it's true, Raido isn't avoiding you."
"You know what he's doing then? Why can't I know?"
"It's not my business to share. I'm sorry."
"I understand. Good night Iruka. Thank you."
"No thank you, Kiyoko. It was nice getting to know you."
Kiyoko closed the door and prepared to take a shower. She was tired but she knew the steam and warmth would help her clear her head while she thought. Maybe she could plan a trip to the hot springs soon.
While she showered she thought about the last week. Well mostly the part after she had met Raido. She'd never been in love before, and she'd never been rescued before so she didn't know if her feelings for him were love or gratitude. And she wanted to figure it out, tonight.
On the one hand she owed him a lot, possibly her life. If he'd handed her over to Fumio and Kin when they'd talked with him they might have killed her. If they hadn't she would have killed herself. She had already decided that if they had recaptured her she would kill herself rather than be raped by them. But he hadn't and he'd brought her here and then held her through her nightmares. And then he'd kissed her.
That brought up the other half of her problem. She hadn't really felt anything other than friendly and grateful towards him until that kiss. Her fingers rested on her lips, remembering the emotions that had run through her. She could still feel them, the emotions, stirring her up and making her want another one. It was after that kiss that she had started feeling different towards him.
But it was also after that kiss that he'd started acting differently. He had practically run into the shower and off to bed. And then, in the morning, they'd been rushed. He hadn't seemed too different but she wondered if he hadn't allowed them to oversleep. And she hadn't seen him since. Today was the third day. She missed him. She knew that.
She also knew that her question couldn't be answered without him so she put it away as she crawled into bed. "Maybe tomorrow will have answers."