Chapter 22- I Love You
"No." Was Genma's simple answer.
Raido sighed, why did everyone feel the need to harass him today? His heart had just been ripped out and flayed by the woman he was hopelessly in love with and now Genma felt he had to have his say too? "Fine, come in then, by all means."
Genma followed Raido into his apartment. "Why did you leave the hospital?"
"Because she asked me to."
"You're such a jerk Raido."
"Yeah, yeah. I know that already. Are you done? Is that what you came to tell me?"
Genma decided to mess with him, he knew it was mean but, oh well. "Actually I wanted to see if you were done breaking her heart? I was thinking I might step up and see how much she likes me." He was on the couch before he finished his sentence. Raido had sent him across the room with his fist.
"Shut up. You know how I feel. How can you even joke?"
"I do know how you feel. I was just trying to be sure you were still alive in there. So I ask again. Why did you leave?"
"And I will answer again. She asked me to. Why won't you let it go? She doesn't want me around and I won't force myself on her just because of how I feel. That would make me no better than..." He couldn't finish. When he thought about Fumio and Kin the urge to bring them serious bodily harm, and perhaps death, was strong.
"What did she say to you? When she asked you to leave? Exactly."
"I don't know, Genma. She asked me to leave. I think she said "I know. You don't have to pretend with me." What the hell did she mean by that anyway? Pretend what?" He was getting really confused.
"She thinks we're lovers Raido."
Raido looked at his lifelong friend unbelievingly. "And why would she think that?"
Genma pulled the note out and handed it to him "Because you dropped this and she found it."
Raido knew what the note said without opening it. He felt so stupid. No wonder she had pushed him away. "I think I do have a lot of explaining to do."
"Get out of here jerk. I'll lock up."
Raido took off for the hospital. When he got there he went straight to her room and slid the door open just a crack.
The hospital attendant looked up from making the bed. "Can I help you sir?"
"Yeah. Where's the patient that was in this room?" He double checked the room number, fourteen, it was the right one.
"I don't know nothing. They tell me to clean a room, I clean it." He returned to making the bed as if Raido had left.
Raido went to the main desk next and approached the girl sitting there. He was glad it was a different girl from the one he'd threatened last night. She might not be willing to help him. "Excuse me. There was a girl in room 14 last night. Kiyoko Takenaka? Do you know where she went?"
The girl looked up at him as if she hadn't even noticed him. "I'm sorry. What was the name?"
"Kiyoko Takenaka." Raido wasn't sure he could be patient for long and he didn't want to leave a string of threats everywhere he went. He took a deep breath to calm down.
The girl was checking logs. "Let's see. Oh yes. She was released."
"Do you know if anyone was with her?"
"Sorry. I can't watch every patient."
"Yeah, I'm sure."
He left. That was fine. She'd probably gone home. He'd just go by her place. But when he got there and knocked there was no answer. He tried to guess where else she might have gone. He had no idea. He sighed.
He started wandering towards the marketplace in the hopes of running into her. Instead he ran into Kakashi.
Kiyoko was upset and she needed to think. She also wanted to see Raido so when Sakura had told her she could go home she'd headed straight for his apartment but he hadn't been there. She sighed. Where could she find him? She decided to head down by the river so she could think. So much had happened in the past few days, weeks and she needed to get it straight in her head.
She found her steps taking her to the memorial.
As she stood in front of it she looked at the names on it. Of course she didn't know any of them, but it helped her to just read them out to herself. She started saying them out loud, hearing them helped her focus on what she hadn't lost. She stumbled over a name "Obito, Uchi..Uchi..."
She heard a voice from behind her "Uchiha. That's how you say it."
She turned and smiled at Kakashi. He no longer frightened her. "Did you know him?"
"He was my teammate and best friend."
She gasped quietly. "I'm sorry."
"It's ok. I come here and look at his name often. Why were you reading the names?"
"It might sound silly but hearing them helps me remember what I still have."
"That isn't silly at all. It's good to focus on the positive. I see you're feeling better. Has Raido been to see you?"
"Sort of. He was there this morning but I sent him away."
"You did? Why?"
"I was confused. And now I don't know where he is."
Kakashi regarded her with his one eye. "I see." He didn't but he figured it was better to say he did. "I'll leave you to your thoughts."
Raido was running to the memorial. Kakashi had said that she was there. When he got there he didn't see her. He was about to leave and keep looking when he noticed her sitting by the river. She was watching the sky and throwing small pebbles into the water. So he walked over to her quietly.
"Hey there Kitten."
She jumped a little but recovered. "Don't you know you shouldn't sneak up on a girl?" She was smiling though. "Raido, can we talk? Really talk. Without one of us running away or jumping to conclusions?"
"I think that would be great." He sat down next to her, "But first I have something I need to get off my mind."
She looked at him to ask what but when she turned her head she found herself face to face with him. He cupped her head and leaned in to kiss her his lips just brushing hers, as if asking for permission. She smiled and leaned closer to him, pressing her lips to his.
He pulled back, "You have no idea how long I have been waiting to do that again."
"Really? I thought I'd made you sick."
"Why would you think that?"
"Well, you when you kissed me you ran off to the bathroom, and then went to bed. I figured you didn't want to even look at me. Then you disappeared for three days..."
"That wasn't my fault.." He interrupted.
"I know that now. Shizune told me in confidence. But I didn't understand." She trailed off. She wasn't sure how he felt, really. She knew he'd enjoyed the kiss but it was too much to hope for. He had said he didn't do relationships.
"My turn. I didn't run off from that kiss because I hated it. I ran because I liked it, too much. I didn't want to take advantage of you. I didn't want you to think you had to like me because I'd rescued you."
"Are you kidding me? I never thought that once. In fact I figured I couldn't be lucky enough to have a guy like you like a girl like me."
"What do you mean? Guy like me? I'm nothing special."
"Yeah, ok. You're the best looking guy I've ever seen! And, you're sweet, and strong, and you're not afraid of anything!" She looked away, "And I fell in love with you, but I understand and I'll get over it." She hadn't meant to tell him the love part.
Raido took her hand in his and turned her face back to look at him. "Seriously? You think all that stuff about me? And you're in love with me?"
"Yeah. But it's ok. I know you don't do relationships. I can live with that."
"Hey. I never said I didn't do relationships. I just said my job didn't leave a lot of time for them. Kiyoko, I love you too. And if you're willing to figure this out with me and live with the reality of my job then I'd like to try."
Kiyoko felt the tears gathering in her eyes, damn, she didn't want to cry again. "Really? Are you sure? Please don't do it just because you feel sorry for me."
Raido looked at her in surprise. "Kitten, nothing I have done for you has been because I felt sorry for you."
"What about rescuing me? And giving me your shirt? And feeding me? And holding me when I had nightmares?"
"Ok. Ok. One at a time. When I found you I was outraged that you'd been mistreated. I rescued you because it was the right thing to do. When I gave you my shirt it was because I'd just realized that you weren't the twelve year old I'd thought you were and I wanted you to maintain your dignity. When I fed you it was because you were hungry. And when I held you it was because I was beginning to care for you. You were so brave in a very frightening situation and I respected that. You stood up to Fumio and Kin, in your own way, I was impressed and decided that I would help you. Not once did I feel sorry for you. I simply joined you in your fight, as if you were one of the ninja I fight beside all the time."
Kiyoko leaned into him, she loved the feel of his strong arms as they wrapped around her. "Thank you."
"For rescuing me, for seeing me as your equal rather than a weakling. For falling in love with me."
"I wouldn't have it any other way, kitten. Are you hungry? Because I'm starving."