Satou Shigeki was never known to be overtly serious. Neither was he known for being blatantly tactful to everyone save Tatsuya and Shou. So, when Shige walked into the Shiina household he didn’t bother to keep his comments to himself.
“Holy shit,” he exclaimed. “Your house is huge! What are you? Rich?” He paused, eyes wide, then continued over-zealously, hoping to distract Tatsuya from his worries. “Don’t tell me! You’re a prince aren’t you? Or the son of a mafia gang-banger? I knew you were too –”
He was cut off as Tatsuya elbowed him non-too-gently in his ribcage, gave him a specially tailored ‘Shut up, Shige’ glare, and commented politely on what a lovely home he had. Shige, pleased about a job well done, looked to Fuwa for his thoughts.
Whatever opinions the ever-quiet Fuwa Daichii had, however, remained a mystery as the teen began to spout out bits of information instead.
Shige gave a dramatic sigh. The keeper was hopeless when it came to socializing properly, but he added an interesting dimension to their group of friends, and they couldn’t fault him for trying. They were all quite fond of him despite his eccentricies.
“Shiina Noriko, aged forty-five; works for the country as an International Relations lawyer. Shiina Isamu, aged forty-seven; world-renowned for his documentaries on the fatal effect human expansion is having on the environment. I have seen a few of them and found them quite informative. ” Fuwa supplied while Shiina led them to a bedroom and placed Shou gently onto the bed. The red-head was carefully pulling off the boy’s cleats to inspect his ankle when he spoke suddenly.
“Mizuno-san,” asked Shiina, not looking up from his friend’s swollen foot. “Bring me the first-aid kit would you? It’s underneath the sink in the bathroom. First door in the hallway on your right.”
Shige watched him as he left, making sure to give the brunet a haughty grin on his way out. Tatsuya tossed him another glare and sighed as he exited. Shiina turned his eyes to the blond.
“Satou, go get me an ice-pack from the freezer.”
“But I don’t know –”
Shiina interrupted him. “I know you know where the kitchen is. You were so keen on examining every other room that we passed by I would be surprised if you missed it -- especially after you commented on what a ‘huge ass’ fridge I have.”
Shige eyed him thoughtfully before nodding. He could tell the smaller teen was anxious and couldn’t help but cut him some slack. Besides, he was worried about Shou too; even if he didn’t show it. When he came back he silently watched the sleeping figure and the person tending to him.
And so Satou Shigeki wondered, not for the first time, if Shou really knew how much he was loved.
Mizuno Tatsuya was worried. He had always been a worrier, and today was no exception. His nerves were on end, his stomach leaden and his heart heavy with guilt.
He knew that Shou always pushed himself to the limit and past, and that he wasn’t the most assertive about his health – not that he didn’t care, but because he didn’t notice. That was why he took notice for the absent-minded teen.
So today Shou, being Shou, and not noticing that he felt a little more drowsy than usual or that, perhaps, he felt a little too warm or too cold, went out and gave it his all during an unofficial practice match. No referees, no coaches, no managers. Just two teams, two nets and a ball. He went beyond his limits for the sake of the game while running a fever.
Tatsuya was appalled with himself for not realizing how ill their striker had been. The clues were evident -- how glassy his eyes were, how exhausted he looked, how sluggish his moves were. The signs were evident. He should’ve known, and yet he didn’t. And now, because of his inattentiveness, he was in the home of the other team’s captain, rummaging through the bathroom in search of a first-aid kit to help treat Shou’s ankle.
He had to admit that Shiina-san had been taking very good care of their striker. He supposed that it was good that Shige told him to let them handle the situation themselves, but wondered what gave the blond that idea.
Tatsuya trusted Shige. And even though he seemed to be nothing but a loud-mouthed idiot, he had uncanny intuition when it came to things like these.
With these thoughts in mind, Tatsuya reasoned that it was probably for the best that they left Shou in Shiina-san’s care.
He sighed in relief as he finally found what he had been sent for, hidden between a package of tampons and a bag of cleaning supplies, and quickly pulled it out.
Although, he thought decidedly, someone should make sure Shiina-san looks after himself. The teen was so busy caring for Shou that he was
Intent on not making the same mistake twice, Mizuno Tatsuya made his way back with a newfound resolve.
Fuwa Daichii would be the first to admit that he really had no idea how to deal with people. He would much rather be dealing with the things he knew, like mathematical equations, chemical reactions, or deciphering codes; but he was also learning a lot about people thanks to Shou and the rest of the football team.
He watched silently as the snarky captain of the Hiba team fretted over their friend, and wondered if there was anything he could assist with. Shigeki and Mizuno had both been sent to retrieve items to help, whilst he had been left standing guard as Shiina Tsubasa unabashedly changed Shou out of his sweaty uniform and into a loose t-shirt and shorts.
He noted, with mild amusement, that the clothes looked as though they fit Shou nicely. He glanced at Shiina, who was now sitting on the edge of the bed and peeling off his socks carefully to inspect his own ankle.
“Shit.” Commented the red-head.
The tone of his curse caught Daichii’s attention. He followed the shorter teen’s gaze and saw the angry red swelling that signaled a sprained ankle.
“You should ice that as much as possible for the next twenty-four hours and then switch to wet-heat.”
Shiina stared at him, something he was well-accustomed to, and then grinned. “Thanks,” he said. “I thought you could only ice it for a few hours after the initial injury. I would have put heat on it.”
Daichii nodded. “That would probably have caused more swelling and a longer healing period, though I am not positive…”
Shiina waved him off. “Could you see where Satou went off to?”
Daichii nodded his assent and headed to the doorway only to be stopped by the grinning face of the blond in question.
“No need, Shrimp. I’m right here.”
“Don’t call me that,” Shiina glared then held out his hand. “And give me that damned ice-pack.”
Shigeki waggled a finger, “Nope. Say ‘please’ first.”
“Please give me the damned ice-pack, Satou.”
“Sure thing,” replied Shigeki, tossing the ice-pack gracefully to the red-head, who caught it and held it against Shou’s ankle. Shou winced in his sleep causing Shiina’s eyes to widen in alarm.
“Fuwa!” he cried. “Go and get some acetaminophen from the medicine cabinet.” Catching Shigeki’s eyes he added, “please.”
“Getting better, Shrimp.”
Shiina all-but hissed his response. “Shut-up, Satou.”
Daichii decided to hurry and locate the medicine.
A nervous Shiina wasn’t something he wished to deal with. And a worried Shiina, taunted by Shigeki, was something he would never wish upon anyone, let alone himself.
It was bad enough when the red-head wasn’t anxious.
Not used to dealing with people’s emotions, Fuwa did the only sensible thing he could do.
Tatsuya decided that he returned at precisely the right moment. Shiina-san was acting very much like an angry cat, and Shige was being his usual anger-enticing self. Fuwa had, intelligently, fled. He guessed his observational skills were more useful than he had originally thought as he quickly pacified the situation.
“Listen to our host, Shige,” he suggested, walking over to Shiina-san and handing him the kit. “And you might walk away with your dignity intact.”
“Oh, how you wound me, Tatsu-bon!” Shige exclaimed dramatically.
Shiina-san ignored them in favour of wrapping Shou’s ankle securely and then moved on to disinfect the cut on the boy’s temple. Tatsuya watched them closely.
He never knew that Shiina-san and Shou were such good friends, but, he reasoned, it wasn’t that surprising. They were the two shortest football players in the league and could therefore relate with each other in that aspect; and where Shou was quiet and respectful, Shiina-san was loud, snarky and often just downright rude.
Somewhat like himself and Shige.
“I’m surprised you trusted me on this one,” said the blond in an undertone. He stood next to Tatsuya with his arms crossed as he looked at him bemusedly.
“You’re usually right about these things, however surprising that may be.” The brunet sent him an irritated glance, “Although you really shouldn’t bait him.”
Shige shrugged. “He needs some distraction.”
Sighing, Tatsuya responded. “If you say so,” seeing the look on the striker’s face he continued quickly, “but I’m stopping you if you go overboard.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know.” Shige waved him off and went over to bother Fuwa who had just walked into the room. He had a bottle of pills and a damp cloth in one hand, and a glass of water in the other. He handed it all to Shiina-san who somehow managed to make Shou swallow the pills and then placed the cool cloth on his forehead.
“Mizuno-san, go call Kazamatsuri-san and see when he’ll be able to pick Shou up,” Shiina said tiredly before turning to Shige, “Satou, you and Fuwa watch Shou. Take turns if you want to. I’m going to take a shower.”
“Don’t drown, Shrimp.” Shige warned, half-serious, half-joking. “Kaza would kill us if you did.”
“Somehow I doubt that.”
Tatsuya interrupted, “Where’s the phone, Shiina-san?”
Shiina blinked at his question, as though processing it and Tatsuya suppressed his instinct to worry. “It’s by the refrigerator. Ask Satou if you can’t find it -- he knows where it is.”
“The phone number should be somewhere on the bulletin board next to the phone.”
“I’m sure we can manage,” said Tatsuya assuringly. “You go take a shower.”
Shige snorted. Shiina didn’t bother to spare him a glare before heading towards the bathroom. The sound of the shower being run could be heard moments later.
Tatsuya exhaled softly, “Well, I’m going to call Kazamatsuri-san now. I’ll be back in a minute.”
“Know where you’re going?”
“I’ll be fine, Shige. Unlike you I don’t get side-tracked easily.”
Shige smirked at that.
As he entered the kitchen and began sorting through the numbers on the bulletin board he wondered how true his statement really was.