"Maybe tomorrow I'll have answers." Once again she fell asleep with thoughts of Raido dancing through her mind.
She was hiding but she couldn't remember from what. She had the sense she'd been in terrible danger but the man in the clearing seemed to carry the promise of safety with him as he crossed it and picked her up. He held her close despite the smell of skunk that wrapped itself around her and the dried mud that rubbed off onto his own clothes. He carried her, saying as he walked, "we need to get you cleaned up." She expected that he would take her to the nearby river she'd been eyeing but instead when he put her down they were at a hot spring. He indicated that she go in and wash up, he would guard the door. So she did. When she came out of the water there were fresh, clean clothes waiting for her, as she dressed she wondered who this man was. She exited the hot spring and there he was, just as he'd said, waiting for her. When his gaze fell on her now clean form the admiration was apparent. He walked up to her, "Kiyoko, you are so beautiful" as his arms wrapped around her. She looked up trying to figure out who was talking to her but she couldn't see his face because the sun was shining in her eyes making them water.
Kiyoko woke up with a smile on her face. It was the first night she'd dreamed and not had a nightmare since her ordeal had begun. She knew that the man in the dream had been Raido but she wondered why she couldn't see his face in it. She went over the thoughts she'd had last night, did she love him? Or did she idolize him because he'd rescued her? The dream certainly indicated her adoration of him as a rescuer not as a lover but, she remembered his kiss. She had not expected his kiss to be like that. She screwed up her face as she climbed out of bed, she still had a lot of thinking to do.
As she walked to work she tried to think of ways she could answer her own questions. She supposed, if she ever saw him again, she could just ask him to kiss her and see what happened. She dismissed that idea, he had practically run away from her the last time, she wasn't going to humiliate herself again. She could find another guy, and ask him to kiss her. Then she might be able to compare her reaction to that kiss with her reaction to Raido's kiss. Hhmmm. Who could she ask? Genma? Bad idea, he was Raido's best friend. Iruka? No, he was her coworker, she didn't need any more drama in her life. She laughed at herself, kissing someone else surely wasn't the answer. This was a question that only time would answer.
Well, she thought, there's nothing more I can do about it today so I may as well put it aside. She smiled and shifted her thoughts to work. She really loved her new job. Working with Iruka was nice, he had a nice sense of humor and he was patient with her figuring out the different way of doing things. The kids were sweet too. It had been rocky at first but most of the kids had warmed up to her the first day and now there were just a few hold outs.
Raido watched her from the window. Genma had said she'd been asking questions and worrying that he was avoiding her. She'd looked as if she was pondering something that troubled her as she'd walked up the road but then she had smiled and seemed fine. He wondered what had been on her mind? Had it been him? He didn't dare to hope that.
He remembered the kiss she'd so innocently asked for. He hadn't really thought twice about it. He'd thought of her as someone he was protecting. It had made sense to him that if she'd only experienced the kisses that Fumio and Kin had forced upon her she wouldn't have any good memories to replace it. So he'd kissed her. And it had been fine until he'd realized how much he liked kissing her, then she had let that little sound out that told him how much she liked it, even if she didn't realize that's what it meant.
He wasn't going to take advantage of her. He wouldn't have been able to live with himself, and Lady Tsunade would have his head. But he knew he wanted to kiss her again, and hold her.
He looked up as Shizune came into the room. "Hello."
"Hi Raido. How are you feeling today?"
"Better, I guess." He suspected that what was ailing him could not be fixed by Shizune.
"Just better? Your labs are normal again. If you feel up to it you could go home today. But you'll still have to take it easy for the next day or two." She observed him closely as she spoke, watching for signs that he was in more pain than he'd let on. "Are you sure you're fine?"
He looked up at her, could he trust her? She was the Hokages best friend and confidant. "I'm fine Shizune. Thanks. Just preoccupied." His eyes strayed to the window.
Shizune looked out the window to see what he might be looking at but the street was empty except for some children running to avoid being late for school. Ahh, school. She had noticed Kiyoko pass the hospital, probably on her way to work, when she'd been visiting a patient down the hall. "Is it Kiyoko? Are you worried about her?"
Raido started, was he that transparent. Damn maybe he needed a refresher in ANBU. "Well," He started.
"It's ok. She's been fine. Everyone has been sure to visit with her and help her feel welcome. And she's settling in nicely with Iruka at the academy. If you go home you could visit with her today." She hoped that might encourage him. He'd been so mopey since his injury, perhaps an after effect of the poison or perhaps he was missing the kitten who had wormed her way into everyone's heart.
"Maybe I will go home. It might be good for me to get away from all these sick people." He laughed. "Can I go now?"
"Well. I'd like to do one more round of blood work after lunch. But as soon as the lab tech has been here you can leave. I'll leave notice with the nurse."
"Thanks Shizune. Seriously, what would we do without you?"
Shizune just smiled and let herself out. She knew what his problem was and he'd have to figure it out on his own but that didn't mean there wasn't anything she could do. She set off for the tower with a determined spring in her step. She had to formulate a plan and quickly. A few carefully dropped words and the rest would just have to happen as it happened.
She got the tower and went into Tsunades office, Genma was there as she had hoped but so was Tsunade and she had to be patient. Lady Tsunade did not like it when Shizune schemed. She smiled at Genma and said, "Genma, I'd love a coffee! Want to join me?"
Genma thought maybe he'd heard wrong but he maintained his calm. "Coffee? Sure. I could just bring it back for you?"
"Oh no. The walk would do me good. I need to stretch my legs."
Now Genma was confused hadn't she just arrived back from an errand? Girls, he would never understand them. "Ok. Sure." He turned to Lady Tsunade, "Can we you get you anything?" But she was reading some manual on poisons and antidotes.
"She won't hear you. When she gets obsessed like this she shuts the world out." Unless you don't want her to hear what you're saying, thought Shizune.
When they got down to the street and were walking towards the nearest coffee shop Genma said "OK. You can come clean now. You have never asked me out for a cup of coffee, ever. And while I am honored, I know you have some motivation other than my striking masculine company. So what is it?"
Shizune giggled a little "You caught me. I released Raido from the hospital, he'll be home this afternoon and though he still needs a few days of rest I think he might benefit more from someone elses company."
Genma was starting to get the picture. "So you think he's missing the kitten he rescued?"
"I do. In fact I'm sure of it. But it's not my place to arrange for them to meet up. I know him, and if it's left up to him he'll just let her forget him. He thinks she deserves better than a ninja."
"Yeah I know. He told me to take care of her when he first woke up, but he won't talk about her now. And all she does is ask why he's avoiding her. It makes it hard to visit with her. We're not allowed to tell her where he is, and she doesn't understand. I'll do what I can but I can't make any promises."
"Thanks Genma. I owe you one."
"You do. Hmmm how can I extract payment?" He said this while looking her up and down.
"Genma! You are truly awful! You know that?"
He laughed, "Did you really want coffee?" As he stopped to turn into the coffee shop.
Raido wasn't sure if getting to go home was good. He had been in the hospital for three days and only conscious for two of them. But every waking moment had been filled with thoughts of Kiyoko and that kiss. And how much he'd like to kiss her again. Then he would get angry at himself and remind himself that he wasn't going to take advantage of her. She was a sweet innocent girl, well woman, she was definitely a woman. That train of thought isn't helping either he reminded himself.
Raido sighed, well Shizune had said he'd still need rest, so he'd just go home and rest. Kiyoko wouldn't know he was home and she thought he was avoiding her anyway. And then he could think about this tomorrow.
Kiyoko was just finishing up the sweeping when Genma appeared in the doorway. "Hey there kitten."
She blushed a little. "Genma, I can never tell when you're serious."
"Well, that's easy. I'm never serious, except of course when I am."
She gave him an exasperated look and went to put the broom away. "You are so much like my brother!"
He laughed. "I wondered if you wanted to go for a walk before you went home?"
"Sure. Got anything in mind?"
Yeah, but he wasn't going to tell her. Shizune had told him that Raido would be leaving the hospital about the same time that Kiyoko would be leaving work. She had delayed his labs for just that reason. She hoped that Lady Tsunade didn't catch her running blood work that wasn't necessary. All Genma had to do was arrange for Kiyoko to be walking by the hospital at the right time.
"Nah, just another Konoha tour, narrated by me. Are you up for it?"
She smiled, "Of course." Genma really did make her think of her brother and it helped her miss him a little less when they visited. "I'm done now, if you're ready."
Genma looked at the clock on the wall, just right. "I am."
They set off from the academy and Genma ambled as if he had no particular goal in mind, telling her all sorts of stupid stories from his childhood as they walked.
Kiyoko noticed that they were walking the way she would have gone to go home and she wondered if Genma was confused. "Umm Genma. This is the way to my house."
Genma looked down at her "Is it? I guess I didn't realize." Where the hell was Raido? Then over her shoulder he saw him.
She noticed that something caught his eye and she turned around to see what. "Raido?"