Rin woke up with a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach, like it was filled with fluttering butterflies. Something woke her in the dead of night. Maybe it was a bad dream but try as she might, she cannot recall even a wisp of it. She lay curled up in bed, tightly hugging a pillow, looking at Kakashi's side of the bed. Still empty. He's been gone a couple of days and she cannot help but be worried.
Then she heard a faint familiar noise, something making a soft tap-tapping sound against the floor. Dog paws. Kakashi's ninja dogs. Rin quickly got out of bed and ran out of the room.
She found the ninja dogs crowded inside the bathroom, surrounding Kakashi who lay motionless inside the dry bathtub. They turned their heads toward her as she showed up by the open doorway. "Are you guys okay?" she asked, worried stiff for him and also for the eight ninken. They answered her by wagging their tails a couple of times but stayed huddled around the tub.
There were very few people that Kakashi would trust with his life and these creatures were included among them. She's grateful that he has them as guards and knows that he treats them as friends and comrades. "Can I check him?" she asked. They were strict guards and usually did not accept any orders from anyone except him. The dogs looked at each other, hesitation showing in their eyes. "Is he wounded?"
Pakkun, who was sitting on the side of the tub, facing Kakashi was the one to reply. "Yes." They could see how this put her more at edge. "But not seriously," Shiba, who was right next to the tub, added.
"I will heal him," Rin declared, stepping into the bathroom. The dogs exchanged glances once more and seem to come to the same decision. "Take care of him," Akino said. One by one, the dogs filed out of the bathroom.
She approached the bathtub and sat on its side, facing Kakashi. His eyes were closed and there were trails of blood on the side of his face. It was hard to tell if the dried blood on his hands were his or someone else's. She reached out to pull down his mask but was startled as he woke abruptly and grabbed her arm. He released his grip when he realized it was her and let her pull down his mask. He changed to a slumped sitting position inside the tub as she got a small towel from one of the drawers, wet it with water and tried to wipe off the blood from his face with it. He took the towel from her and started to wipe his hands.
"Let me do it, Kakashi," she said softly.
"I can do it," he mumbled.
"Let me heal those," she said, indicating the cuts on his un-gloved hands, now visible as he cleaned them up.
"They're just small wounds. It's okay," he said.
"We need to clean you up."
"I can manage, Rin. I'm okay."
"You don't look okay to me."
"I just wanna rest."
"I know, Kakashi. But..."
"Rin, you dote on me too much." His words came out a little too harshly than he expected. She did not say anything more but without looking him in the face, she took the damp towel from him and cleaned off all the blood from his hands. He did not refuse anymore and stayed quiet when she went ahead and healed the wounds. She then stood up and turned away but he held on to her hand.
"I'm sorry," he said. She still did not say anything as she stood there for a moment then walked out of the bathroom, Kakashi not having enough strength to keep his grip on her hand. He heaved out a sigh, exasperated at himself. Having someone else who looked after him was still something he needs to get used to after years of being alone. He leaned back on the tub and closed his eyes.
From where he was, he can hear his dogs pace up and down the house and the murmur of their voices as they talked to each other. But he did not hear Rin pad soundlessly back to the bathroom.
"Here, Kakashi." He opened his normal eye to see her handing out a pillow to him. He took it and she just watched as he placed it behind his head. He looked at her hand, not sure if he would reach for it.
"I'm really sorry," he said. "I know you're just... wor... ried..." Kakashi stuttered as Rin stepped into the tub. She lay down beside him, cradling his head on one arm as she healed the cut on his forehead. He can see the green glowing chakra from her hand. Once the wound was healed, she massaged that area a bit and lightly gave it a kiss.
And in that hard, cold, cramped bathtub, he knew he was forgiven.