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12 July 2009 @ 09:04 pm
My beta has forgotten me it seems, so I ask you, to help me out with this story. First two chapters are already posted on ff.net, but it pains me, that there might be mistakes... Furthermore, I'm in the middle of composing chapter three, and I'd like it to be checked before I post it anywhere.

: Asleep
Author: Caaree
Fandom: Naruto
Rating: PG-13, I guess...
Genre: Friendship now, romance later.
Pairing: Namiashi Raidou, Shiranui Genma
Summary: My view on their friendship. Not nearly as boring as it sounds, I hope.
Need help on: Pretty much everything, methink. English is not my first language [not even the second XD], so it's mostly grammar, misused words, plot, faithfulness to the canon [as far as it goes with two rather minor characters...], keeping my ninja as manly as possible :)
Warnings: My attempts at humour are usually failing miserably. Plus I plan on describing homoerotic situations in later chapters, so if you're put out by any of it, read at your own risk.

Title: Asleep
Genre: Friendship now, romance later
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: about 1825
Summary: Raidō and Genma are best friends, but I always wanted to see them as more than just that.
Authors Notes: 1) "Naruto" and all of its characters are propriety of Masashi Kishimoto. 2) This is just a shameless fan-fiction, wrote for amusement - mine and hopefully other people as well. 3)I'm heavily influenced by works of </a></b></a>nezumiko and </a></b></a>imlikat , so any similarity, although not planned, most probably isn't accidental. 4)Not beta-readed. Any volounteers? *snort*

I woke up to the sound of door being unlocked. My muscles tensed involuntarily, ready to pull me up; even though I knew only one person would come to my house like that. Relaxing, I smiled fondly, not bothering to open my eves, just listening to the sound of rustling in genkan. Finally, soft padding of bare feet on wooden floor announced Raidō, coming into my single room.

He paused at the threshold, probably inspecting sheets for bloodstains. It was one of little rituals we celebrated – coming to see if other one is okay after a mission. It wasn’t uncommon for ninja to just come home to bleed to death, or let enemy’s poison sink in well, or take as many of those small lavender pills, that no shouting could force its way through thick cloud of sleep. I was dead tired when I reached Konoha last night, but there was enough common sense left in my pounding head, to know that Raidō would be worried, if I haven’t pulled out my futon and laid my weapons exactly beside my “makeshift” bed.

In five quick steps he reached my sleeping space and did what I hated most – tore sheet off me.

“Geez Genma, you reek!” I must have, since after spreading out futon I lacked strength and will to strip myself off of mission clothes.

“Oh come on, Raidō.” I opened one eye and rolled on my side, trying to grab a corner of the sheet. “If you want to sleep with me, at least buy me a dinner. I’m not that cheap, you know.” Success! I clutched at the material, and rolled again, in a sorry attempt to cover myself with as little effort as possible. It didn’t work out that well.

“I’ve brought gyoza.” Oh, that bastard. That was tempting. “Come on, get up, take a shower.” That wasn’t tempting. At all. “If you hurry, you might even eat before it gets cold.” Ooh, tempting again.

“Feed me?” I managed to look cute, I know it, but he just glared at me.

Moaning, I got up on my hands and knees, and Raidō helped me up and to the bathroom. While I peeled my turtle neck and pants off I heard him opening my fridge, then I just tuned off, dropped my boxers and went under blissfully hot spray of water.

I just stood there, for what seemed like a short while, feeling tension from my muscles disappear along with brownish water. Then, banging at the bathroom door forced me to snap out of drowse I didn’t even realize I fell into.

“Oi, you okay there?” Worried. I smiled. We weren’t that inseparable kind of friends like those Hagane and Kamizuki kids, but we completed each other on missions and liked hanging out after them too. After almost ten years of covering each others back it was quite moving, how concerned Raidō would get even after I was safe and sound into my own flat.

“Just jerking off, wanna come?” I grinned and started working soap into lather on my head.

“Can’t. You’d *come* as soon as you’d see me, and where’s fun in that?” Cheeky bastard. “Your lunch is cold anyway.” Oh, that hurt. I washed myself quickly, and got out of shower cubicle to wrap a towel around my hips.

“I’m almost finished here.” Just had to run second towel over my legs, so I wouldn’t ruin floor with water, and dry my hair. Rubbing soft cotton over my head I left bathroom to fetch fresh pair of underwear. Raidō was sitting by the table, drinking beer, leafing through a book. Right behind him was my bed, now freshly made. I turned around to see stained sheets piled up beside bathroom door.

Something was off.

Raidō looked up when I opened wardrobe, and snorted.

“You got shy all of a sudden?”

I pulled out a pair of boxers without really looking at them, and showed him my middle finger.

“Half of my life there was another block of flats right outside my window, Raidō, remember? Old habits die hard.” I flashed him a toothy grin as I ostentatiously let the towel covering my hips to fall down, and put on my boxers.

“Yeah, forgot. Now go on, eat your lunch. I bet it’s icy cold by now.” He took a good swig of his beer, as I settled at the opposite side of the table. Ahh, gyoza. Yummy.

“So, what do you want?” After few bites of my delicious lunch I decided it’s right time to inquiry about Raidō’s rather unusual behaviour. He looked easy to catch off guard now.

But as a ninja he wasn’t, of course. Just cocked an eyebrow at me.

“You coming to check on me are normal. Bringing food *could* pass for normal too, but just barely. But changing my sheets?” I smirked, and popped dumpling into my mouth. “Seriously, Raidō, what is it?”

“You want to say I’m not a good friend usually? Gee, Gen-chan, how could you?!” He clutched his chest in a parody of soap opera heroine.

“I want to say it’s creepy, unless you have an ulterior motive.”

“So I have.” Now I was worried. He looked guilty, head bowed, beer cradled between his hands on a lap. “I requested for you on my next mission.”

I felt wave of relief wash through me. So that was it? I expected something more outraging. Destroying one of my books, for example. “When is it?” I took a gulp of beer. Warm. Last gyoza was lying miserably on the plate, so I took pity on it and put it into my mouth. Started chewing.

Wrong decision.

“Tomorrow” Raidō said it as I tried to swallow. Which ended in me chocking, and then after a fit of coughing I managed to catch my breath, somehow. I looked up at him, incredulous.

“You know I wouldn’t refuse under normal circumstances, but seriously Raidō, I just came back from one bitch of a mission. It was exhausting!”

“It’s not that difficult” He tried. “I need someone experienced, ‘cause the Fifth gave me two kids to work with.” He was trying so hard. “The only vacate is intelligence, and you know that for me it’s either you or Aoba.” He was doing his ‘pleading eyes’ trick and I was too damn tired to stare at him, like I would do normally. Instead, I put my elbows on the table, food in between, rubbed my temples. Not nice.

“What about Aoba, anyway? He’s still on that mission in Water Country?

“Yeah, will be back in three days or so, and that’s when we’re supposed to be at the Grass Country border.” I heard him shifting anxiously. He always did that when he felt uncomfortable. I smiled briefly. He probably knew from the beginning what my reaction and answer will be, but he still played along. Sweet.

“You owe me for that. Big one.” I opened my eyes to see him grinning.

“I know what to do, to improve your mood.” I grinned back at him. “I could…” My grin turned into a full-blown leer.

“Suck me off.” I ended before Raidō had a chance to say anything more. He made a face, threw a crown cap at me.

“So you just jerked off, and still are so desperate to ask me to get you off? I had higher expectations of you, Shiranui.”

It was my turn to raise a brow now. I snorted too, just for a good measure.

“Actually, I thought I’ll clean your gear and stuff.” He finished off his beer and went to the kitchen. “You sure look like you’d use some more sleep.”

I yawned as he said that, got up as well. Murmuring “No shit, Sherlock.” I stretched on the futon. While sweet smell of clean sheets surrounded me I debated if I ought to feel grateful or offended.

“I can make you breakfast for tomorrow too.” I heard him sitting beside me, starting to sort through daggers, needles and throwing stars. Smiling lightly, I cracked one eyelid open. Gave him amused look.

“Don’t touch anything in my kitchen, and we’re even.”

He barked a short laugh. “Ass.”

Too tired to keep eye contact much longer I settled comfortably on my side, hands securely put under chin. “But great ass, nonetheless.”

“Oh? Says who?” Raidō got up, went to the opposite side of the room, opened wardrobes door.

“The ladies, of course.” I inhaled deeply. To think, that for a week I wouldn’t be able to burrow head in my pillow like that. Stupid Raidō.

“The *ladies* don’t say such words, Genma.” He apparently found what he was looking for, because now I heard him heading to bathroom.

“How’d you know? Aren’t you into boys?”

Something smelly landed on my head. I took it off, and eyed piece of cloth suspiciously. My turtleneck. With dirt, sweat, blood and spilled medicine on it. Gross. I threw it back into general direction of Raidō emerging from bathroom, frowning.

“What is with you and those lame sex jokes today?” He settled back on the floor. Started cleaning my weapons, then got up again, took two zabuton from under the table, settled down. I watched him getting back to work. He wasn’t frowning anymore, but he was definitely pouting.

“So what about this mission, anyway?” I asked, feeling that if I won’t do it now, I’d know nothing by tomorrow morning. Good thing I haven’t covered myself up, because if I’d feel any more comfortable I’d surely drift off by now.

“We’re going to go to the border with Grass, to one of the daimyo’s lords’ mansion. Our mission is to disgrace this lord’s son, possibly make him look like he was plotting an assassination.”

“Nice one.” I managed, gritting my teeth. I understood why Raidō didn’t want to be in this shit alone, but I surely didn’t enjoy swimming in sump myself. Ahh, the things one makes in the name of friendship.

“So we’ve got that Yamanaka girl to do actual job. You’d have three days to get all the information needed; I’m the captain, of course. And that new medic’s coming with us.”

“New medic? This one with hair like Kakashi’s, only black? What’s his face…Yamamoto Hajime, or something?” I remembered someone told me about new group of medics few days ago. Probably medic-nin on last mission.

“Yeah, that one. Only, his name’s Ichirō.”

I yawned and decided it’s time to go to sleep and take advantage of Raidō’s guilty conscience. “Pick me up tomorrow, ‘kay? And *buy* me something to eat” I said, rolling much like I did earlier today, unsuccessfully pulling the sheet only over my arm. I grunted, not feeling smug anymore.

Raidō put aside whatever he was holding at the moment, and with a soft “You’re such a baby, dumbass.” turned me over and covered up. I sighed contentedly, murmured “Thanks.” into the pillow and drifted off.

Title: Drowsily Covering the Distance
Word Count: 2684
Author's Notes: The usual - don't own, Masashi Kishimoto has the power to create a bunch of sexy ninjas. I just play with them sometimes...

Birds outside my window chirped ridiculously merry and loud. Raidō must have left the window open when he left last night. I smiled at the thought – my futon was spread just under the sill, so I bet he had a hard time, reaching above and beyond my sleeping form, careful not to wake me up, already thinking of my awakening, when I can bet mere minutes passed since I fell into oblivion. I stretched, shivering slightly in the crisp air filling my apartment. Head turning on the side, as I scratched my abdomen absent minded, my eyes focused on the table for a while. Raidō laid down all of my weapons there, in a perfect order. Needles in a pile on the left, daggers neatly arranged in the middle, throwing stars in three rows on the right. I smiled warmly, made a mental note to thank my friend later.

I pondered on this, strange for some people, mutual courtesy. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a vague memory of Raidō popping in once, just when my date for the night left me, hangover and sore. I was scolded, than carefully picked up, held back when I threw up, and for the rest of the day Raidō fussed over me, ordering my favorite food, keeping me company. Somehow we ended as confirmed bachelors, watching each others back professionally and privately. I thought of all of those times when I helped Raidō clean his apartment after a wild party, dressed his wounds, made him eat real food, instead of instant soups, and shared body heat on missions. We were old by ninja standards, and I knew that thinking of Raidō as someone that’ll always be there to check on me after a mission was wrong. I was glad though, having someone that close. It was comforting, rare luxury among people of our kind. My mind drifted again. There wasn’t many active ninja our age, plenty of our comrades turned antisocial. We were one of the few lucky to be alive and relatively sane.

I got up, took a shower and was just finishing writing the report on my latest mission when I sensed familiar presence nearing my door. Then, soft click of the keys and faint squeak of hinges announced Raidō in my flat. I waved a hand at him, when he finally stepped in, and without giving him more thoughts turned back to my report. He put aside his backpack, took off his sandals and padded straight to the kitchen. Rustling of a paper bag and soft humming came to my ears, and then there was the characteristic smell of teriyaki sauce teasing my nostrils. Mouth watering, I fought to end that damn paperwork. Raidō worked behind me, clicking with plates and glasses, turning on the kettle, poking around cupboards, all the while humming something definitely off tune. As I finished writing and took hanko to sign the form, I heard Raidō pouring water to the cups, filling my flat with strong scent of coffee. He knew exactly what I needed, and I couldn’t hold back fond smile that crept on my face.

“Come on, breakfast’s ready.” His low voice sounded strangely down. He was calm, usually, but not like something bad happened – or was about to happen – as he was now. I put away the seal, clipped the papers and turned around, still on the zabuton. I regarded Raidō carefully, noting slight slump of his shoulders and tired expression, when he fixed his unseeing eyes on the empty beer bottle on the counter. He snapped out of his thoughts, rather unexpectedly, looked at me. I guess he wanted to say something, probably too engrossed in his own musings to notice I wasn’t writing any more. There was shock on his face, but it quickly vanished, as he regained his composure and smiled briefly.

“It’s creepy, you know?” I watched him still, worried, when he sat down on his chair and sipped coffee slowly. I thought I saw a shadow of sorrow in a crease of his brow, but then he looked up at me again, cocked his head to the side.

“Eat while it’s still warm, Genma.”

I got up, slowly, stretched and padded to the table. There was skipjack tuna in teriyaki, one of my favorite dishes, on the plate, but somehow I couldn’t bring myself to feel happy about it. I took a bite, chew pensively for a while, swallowed. Raido just drank his coffee.

“Thanks for yesterday.” I said before taking another bite of fish. He just grunted and I observed him for a while again. “What’s wrong, Raidō?”

His head snapped up, and I realized he drifted off again. I was seriously worried now. We were supposed to go on a mission today, but I’ve never seen him so unfocused before a job before. He scratched back of his head and grinned sheepishly at me.

“Nothing really, just got into a fight with Kumiko yesterday, couldn’t sleep.”

“Oh. I see.” I grimaced slightly. Kumiko was with Raidō for over a year, and I was predicting for a while now that something will break between them anytime soon. She wasn’t a girl for my best friend; I sensed it when I first saw her, bringing him lunch when he held an office duty. I just knew from the way she looked at him, from the way she made everyone see and hear how much of a sweetheart she was, that she was trouble. I suspected at first she was trying to impress her friends with Raidō – he was a special jōnin, highly respected shinobi – but then I realized that she was the one being used. Raidō found himself a company for long nights, and it scared me a little when I saw no signs of mutual feeling in his eyes, when Kumiko was looking up at him admiringly. She wasn’t stupid, which I tried to tell Raidō on more than one occasion, but he dismissed me easily, usually jokingly accusing me of being jealous or clingy. I stopped asking eventually, decided I don’t have right to invade his private life any more he let me.

Raidō got up after drying his cup, washed it quickly and went to the bathroom. I finished off my meal, chugged down coffee and went after him. He was standing before the mirror, toothbrush in one hand, looking at himself with unreadable expression. I leaned on the doorframe.

“She dumped me.” He said suddenly, not moving an inch, but fixing his eyes on me. I took three steps, stopped close behind him. “I’m too distant, she said. I don’t care for her hobby, or work, or plans for future.” He snorted. “She couldn’t understand a ninja, you said that, and I should have listened…” I stood there, silent, looked at the reflection of his eyes. His lips twisted, and for a very brief while I thought he was going to cry – ridiculous thought – but he just gave me a bitter smile. “You were right all along.”

It struck me, that the only time I saw him depressed like this was eight years ago, when I got back from a mission stabbed with a poisonous dagger. I was in coma for almost a week, and the first thing I saw after waking up was Raidō, sitting by my bed, looking through the window with the same pained expression on his face.

Strangely, I didn’t think Kumiko herself was the root of his sadness.

My hand gripped his shoulder reassuringly.

“Hey, you still got me.” I flashed him a toothy grin. “The Infallible Genma and his Great Senbon of Doom.”
He laughed shortly, bowed his head slightly. I patted his back, forced myself to keep smiling. He raised his head, no hint of sadness in his eyes now, instead there was something I couldn’t exactly read. But it was something positive, I was sure, so leaving analyzing this for later I focused on getting us both ready for the mission.

At the gate, chatting with Hagane and Kamizuki were Yamanaka and Yamamoto, both dressed definitely not canonical. I snorted at Ichirō’s red t-shirt, his green pants, forehead protector extravagantly tied at his thigh. Then I furrowed my brows – Ino’s protector was nowhere to be seen, not that her clothes were protecting much…

Raidō marched a bit faster now, serious expression on his face, picture of pure professionalism in action. We approached chūnins, gave nods to guards on duty, and without further delay took off to the border.
First part of our journey was the easiest – we were close to home, so we could run without worrying of missing-nin’s or enemies. It changed a bit after we left behind the farthest outposts of Konoha. Raidō slowed the pace, and I had strange feeling that forest darkened faster than it was supposed to. I noticed Ichirō staying back a little, exchanged knowing look with the captain. We were heading to Adachi Town, exactly hundred kilometers away from our village, and it was unpleasant surprise, that chūnin these days couldn’t endure what was a normal trip for me at their age. Eventually Raidō decided to camp in the woods, much to my discontent, but the Asuma’s student looked unusually pale too.

As the kids were ordered to collect wood, I helped Raidō spreading out sleeping bags and digging hole for the fire. I noticed him regarding me with a smirk. “What?” I barked. We were alone so I didn’t have to put up a show of “sir”. For now.

“You’re sulking.” He smiled openly. “You’re sulking, ‘cause we’re ‘bout to camp out.” Said in a sing-sang voice. I felt the strongest urge to kick him.

“I don’t sulk. Ever.” I said through gritted teeth, and he send me amused look. Fine. Two can play that game.

“I wouldn’t be in such good spirits if I were you. Your squad, oh dear captain, sucks really hard.”

“Lucky you, I can’t feel a thing.” It took a moment before it sink in well. Raido was chuckling madly. I bet I sported really dumb expression at the moment.

“Really, Rai, that was just gross! They are kids for gods’ sake, I’m not a pedophile! Ugh!”

“You started about sucking.”

“Come on, admit it, we do suck as a team. We’ve got a captain that got dumped right before the job, girl that dresses in a swimsuit and a medic that can’t keep up with the pace the very first day.” I bobbed needle in my mouth significantly. “You lucky I’m here, he, he.”

It turned out I was lucky he was my captain on this mission – shifts this night were strangely favorable of me and Raidō – I was doing the first one, he took on himself the last. Kids didn’t rest up that entire well, but as experienced shinobi we knew nothing harden to the exhaustion as well as exhaustion itself. So the next day we passed the Adachi Town without stopping, ran rather fast until the noon, when Yamamoto almost ran into the wasp’s nest. By the evening we covered the four fifths of the distance to our destination; but the Yamanaka and medic were tired to the point of fainting.

Raidō took our squad to the hideout – old and crummy hut – and mercifully let them sleep. We sat by the fire, put up in the stylish fireplace made of paving stone, on which Ichirō commented cleverly “What the fuck is that monster?” right before he fell down on the dusty bed. Yamanaka sensibly fell down just after him, so she hadn’t got her face buried into dubious coverlet. I took out canned soup from my backpack, gingerly placed it by the fire. As I sat back Raido did something he rarely used – bumped his shoulder on mine. Intentionally. I leaned towards him and bumped back. We did it for a while, really stupid “reassuring game”, from back when we were both held prisoners, tied up from head to toe. Then it stopped, and Raidō leaned his head back, right on the ancient sofa cushion. He moved slightly, as if to say something right into my ear, and then he sneezed hard.

“Damn, this thing is from before the Flood, I swear it!” He sneezed some more and I thought he looks utterly hilarious like that, staring angrily at the inanimate object. It was hard not to tease him to get some reaction from him – especially since he was rather quiet for the past two days. I leaned closer, whispered “Oh Rai-chan, you can always use me as your pillow…” and laughed out loud, when he gawked quite openly at me. We settled down after a while – I sat back on my old place, he fussed a little with the sofa, spreading his flack jacket so it served for a makeshift pillow. I watched the flames, silently, pondering over one of new recipes I got lately. Wondered how Raidō would like it better – spicy or sour? Cached myself watching him, instead of the fire. I closed my eyes briefly, to collect my suddenly wandering thoughts. Wandering in strange places…

“What’s with you lately?”
“Huh?” I snapped out of my musings, didn’t really cached what he said. “What was that?”
“You’re weird lately. Weirder than usual.” A poker in Raidō’s hands grated unpleasantly on the stone. “You keep saying weird things.” He turned to me. “What’s wrong?”
What’s wrong, indeed? I haven’t noticed any change in myself recently. But then I guess it might have something to do with the fact that nothing new happened in my life for some time now. I haven’t got a stable relationship in what seemed like ages, did my missions, hang out mostly with Raidō… Actually I might be a little bit desperate, so to say.
“See, you do that again! You’re being weirder when you don’t say a word!” He pointed poker at me, accusingly.
“Stop waving it around, you make me a second Kakashi…” He turned his hand down, and placed the tool on the floor, although refused to back down. Now he just stared at me, worried. “It’s nothing Rai-” He opened his mouth to say something, but I silenced him with a small gesture of my hand. “You want to know that badly, I tell you, but just this once. I’m lonely, I guess. No one new in my life, recently all I did was completing missions and hang out with-” You. ”Friends. I guess I’m tired of it. Tired of sleeping alone every night, eating alone everyday, doing everything myself.” My eyes turned down, careful to avert Raidō’s searching gaze. “And just don’t try to say I’ve got you. “ He shifted uncomfortably and I smiled bitterly. Point for me, old stager. “We’re friends but… There are things friends just don’t do.”
He surprised me then. I looked up and his eyes were steady on mine – calm and determined. As his words.
“What?” I thought I misheard or misunderstood him. Surely, for this whole situation started being slightly surreal. Maybe I was more exhausted than I considered?

But he patiently asked again. “Why you think there are things friends don’t do?” My mind started spinning. “We experienced together more horrible things than most of the people can imagine. What is there I can’t do for you and you can’t do for me?” He shifted closer, bent slightly to me. “Why don’t you trust me?”

“That was unfair, you fucker.” It was. I’d cry if a was a girl or wasn’t a shinobi. As it was, he only angered me. “You know I trust you more than anyone. You *know* me.”

“Then why won't you tell me, what is really wrong?”

Shit. He was right. I guess up to this moment I didn’t even realized it myself. There was more to it than simple loneliness; more even than a need for comfort. Raidō knew me like the back of his hand, better than I knew myself it seemed. I stared at him, dumbfounded, not being able to utter a single word.

LJ Cut hates me and I hate it right back, so if I messed up something - sorry in advance - let me know right away, please.

Sitting at: empty coffee cup
Feeling: blankblank