They met on a D-rank mission, one of those tedious chores disguised as ninja work. Normally only one genin team would be working, but the garden they were to plant was gigantic and the day hot enough to make the work go as slowly as the hours that oozed by. Two teams took up shovels.
In the spirit of cooperation, the genin were split into groups of two, one from each team. Kotetsu and Izumo pulled the mid-sized straws, and so out of random chance was their relationship born. They were to be on rose detail.
There wasn’t much talking at first, despite Kotetsu’s normally chatty personality. In silence, the two would dig a hole, line it with bone meal and rose food, and Izumo would hold the thorny shrub in place while Kotetsu piled dirt around it. The work went quickly in this manner.
It was bound to happen. Izumo’s gloves didn’t cover his fingers, and so a thorn easily bit through the calloused skin of his thumb. Blood welled up, but it was nothing, especially to a ninja. He sucked it for a moment and looked again. It wasn’t serious, but it was deep. “Damn.”
Kotetsu stuck his shovel into the ground and held out his hand. “Let me see.”
“Why?” Izumo sucked at the wound again. “Medical nin wannabe?”
“Just give it here.”
There wasn’t really any reason not to. Kotetsu peered at Izumo’s thumb for a moment, then fished a roll of gauze from his pockets.
Izumo glanced at the roll and then to Kotetsu’s ‘unique’ facial accessories. “For decoration?”
“That too.” The other boy took out a packet of antiseptic wipes with an embarrassed grin. “Accident prone.”
Izumo would have been able to tell, anyway; Kotetsu’s deft fingers spoke of experience.
Izumo flexed; the bandage was snug, neatly tied, and shouldn’t interfere with his work. “Thanks.” He winced a little. “Still kinda hurts, though.”
A wicked grin spread over Kotetsu’s face. He grabbed Izumo’s hand and kissed the injured thumb. “Better?”
His first reaction probably should have been to punch the shorter boy in the teeth, but Izumo just gave him an odd look.
“So, you busy tomorrow?”
Work went much slower after that.