Chapter 17- She's not my kitten!
"Hey there big boy" Raido was listing dangerously to one side as if he might fall over. He shifted but overcompensated and started leaning to the other side. Genma realized just how sick Raido still was and caught him. "Let's get you to bed." He guided Raido into his room and deposited him on his bed, pulling the blanket that lay at its foot over him. Then he went into the living room and plopped down on the couch to think.
He knew Raido had called out Kiyoko's name while he'd been unconscious but he figured no one had told Raido that yet. He also saw the look in Raido's eye's when he looked at her. He had seen that look only once before, many years ago. He knew, even if Raido didn't, what it meant.
He turned his thoughts to Kiyoko. At first he'd thought she was in awe of Raido for rescuing her. But in the time he had spent with her the past two days he had come to realize that she wasn't worshiping her savior but falling in love. He knew that a lot of people would dismiss it, she was still vulnerable from her ordeal and susceptible to mistaking her feelings of gratefulness for love. But, after her feisty outburst in the marketplace, threatening him with his own senbon pin, something no one had ever done before, he was inclined to think it was love. He had watched her heal, quickly in his opinion while Raido had been in the hospital and he felt like she knew what she was doing. Even if she was inexperienced and naive in many ways.
So he sat and waited.
After 2 ½ hours he heard shuffling in the bedroom and looked up to see Raido, rumpled but looking a lot healthier, emerging from his room.
"Have you been here the whole time?" Raido was surprised to see Genma sitting on his couch eating a sandwich. It wasn't like him to babysit.
"Yeah. We need to talk."
"I see you helped yourself to my food. You're welcome." Raido ran his hand through his hair rumpling it back and brushing it off his face. "There's nothing to talk about."
"I made you a sandwich too. It's on the counter." Genma sighed, he was going to be difficult. When Raido got his mind made up it was difficult to change it, it was part of what made him a good assassin, he was focused but Genma was going to try. "And there is something to talk about. Your little kitten"
Raido was across the room in a flash and had Genma by the shirt, pulling him up off the couch so that he could stare him in the eyes. "She is not my kitten." He ground out. "You need to get that straight."
Genma stared at his friend coolly, it wasn't the first time they'd fought, although it was the first time it was over a girl, and he knew he wasn't in any real danger. "Ok. Fine. You can pretend you don't have feelings for her, but everyone who knows you knows otherwise."
Raido let go of Genma and stepped away. "It's not that. I don't know." He was exasperated with the situation and he felt like he couldn't think straight. For a man who kept his cool in the worst of situations this was confusing.
"Do you know you asked for her when you were unconscious?" Genma watched his friend for a reaction."
"Seriously?" Great, how many people had witnessed that?
"Yeah. Only Shizune and I heard it. Tsunade didn't let many people in your room while you were out. Once she had healed you it was pretty much either Shizune or me."
"Well, that's a relief." He sat down at the bar with his sandwich and began to eat. "What else did I say?"
"Nothing, you just kept calling her name. We tried to get Tsunade to let her visit you but she wouldn't budge. Hey, it's ok. She's sweet, and cute, and she adores you."
"Yeah. For all the wrong reasons."
"What?" Genma couldn't figure his friend out. "What do you mean?"
Raido sighed again and put down his sandwich. "I kissed her Genma."
Genma was a little surprised, he knew Raido avoided relationships because of his job. He'd always thought it was a little silly himself but he respected his friends decision. "May I ask why?" He hoped there was a good reason. He knew Raido to be an honorable man but even the best guy out there could only take so much of a beautiful girl hanging on him before desire overrode reason. If Raido had forced a kiss on Kiyoko it was going to be hard not to deck him.
"She asked me too. So I did."
"Oh." Genma thought about this. He could see Kiyoko doing it, he didn't know her reason but she was just innocent enough to ask and not have any idea what she was asking for. "And?"
"Let me explain before you come at me. She'd told me everything and cried on my shoulder about it. That night, the last night she was here, she asked me. Because the only kisses she'd ever had were from Fumio and Kin she got the idea that if she knew what a normal kiss was like maybe the nightmares would stop. It seemed like a good idea at the time. So I kissed her."
"Oh." There wasn't much that could render Genma speechless. He wasn't known for being talkative but he usually had something to say, even if he chose not to say it. At this moment he was speechless, so he just stared with disbelief at his best friend and wondered when he had become so stupid.
Raido looked at Genma, "I know what you're thinking but it's not like that. I really wanted to help her. And I think it did, a little, because she didn't have a nightmare that night. But it really complicated things."
"You have no idea what I'm thinking. What was her reaction?"
"Well, at first not much. I truly don't think the girl had ever been kissed, Fumio and Kin don't count. But then she moaned."
"Yeah just a little. And that's when I knew I was in trouble. I knew I'd fallen in love with her. There she was, sitting on my couch, so completely trusting of me, asking me to kiss her just so she'd have a good kiss memory. And all I wanted to do was pull her into my lap and give her all sorts of good memories."
"Wow." Genma was shocked. He had thought Raido might like her but it was apparent that his reticent friend was in deeper than he'd realized.
"Yeah. Wow. And all I could think was that if I did that I was no better than Fumio and Kin, taking advantage of her in her weakness, difference was that she trusted me."
"So what did you do?"
"I bolted. I told her I needed a shower and sleep and I left as quickly as I could. And in the morning I let her sleep in. I told myself it was because she needed to sleep but I was avoiding her. I didn't want to face her and admit that I was attracted to her, not even to myself. She is vulnerable and weak, and I won't take advantage of that."
"Well let me tell you about your vulnerable kitten, Raido." He related the incident in the market that had happened earlier to Raido and finished with "I don't think she's as vulnerable as you think."
Raido was laughing, "She threatened you with your own senbon pin? That's sweet! Wish I could have seen it. So she's doing well? How about work?"
"Iruka says she's fit right in, as if it was meant to be. The kids love her, well except for the expected hold outs but those kids are probably headed for Anbu Black Ops and they never get along with anyone."
Genma chuckled, he'd known that would rankle him. "And other than getting lost going home that first night she's been fine. Not clingy or anything. I kind of figured she would want to stick to me with you missing but she hasn't. We've visited and I've shown her around but you'd never know that she'd escaped slavery a week ago."
"She got lost?"
Genma chuckled again, "Yeah. I brought her over to her new place and got her settled. But I really needed to check on you, Tsunade had wanted me back as soon as possible as a guard. So I left pretty quickly. She was meeting Iruka for dinner anyway, to celebrate her first day at work. Anyway, she told Iruka she could get home on her own, and promptly got lost."
Raido smiled, that was just like her. "What did she do?"
"She happened upon Kakashi. He showed her how to get home."
Raido remembered how afraid she'd been of Kakashi when they'd met. "Wow. She is doing well, isn't she?"
"Yeah. She is. Give her a chance Raido, she might surprise you."
"What time is it?" Raido looked over at the clock in the kitchen. It was 7. "How can I still be so tired?"
"Well, you did almost die the other day." Genma said this with no emotion in his voice at all. He saw Raido considering his options. "Want some ramen? My treat."
Raido took a deep breath, "No tricks? Just ramen? I'm not up to anything else today."
"No tricks. I left her at the tea house with Shizune, crying and needing to talk. I came here to check on you."
The two friends headed into town, walking quietly beside each other lost in their own thoughts. When they got there they sat down and ordered.
"So what else have I missed?"
"Not much. Just the usual day to day stuff. You got the guy you were after, if you didn't know. He tried to crawl away but we found his body not far from yours. Good job."
"Thanks. It would have turned out better if he hadn't managed to nick me with that kunai as I took him down. Stupid poison, it's a cowards weapon." Raido harrumphed. He had no respect for someone who couldn't win an honest fight.
Genma laughed, "Just like you. Fists and kunai rather than rely on anything else. No wonder you suck at love."
They had finished and got up to leave. As they passed through the curtains that shielded the ramen stand from the street Raido came face to face with Kiyoko. Well more like her face to his chest, he'd forgotten how small she was. He was suddenly filled with emotion, he wanted to scoop her up in his arms and hold her, and kiss her again. What was wrong with him? He had never felt that about anyone, ever.
"Hello, Kiyoko." He said.
Kiyoko squeaked, and then looked up at Raido, she couldn't read his face so instead she took off. There was no way he was making her cry again.
Raido looked helplessly at Genma.
"Hey slick." Genma said.