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yuuhi_kureno in narukorp

[Thread] The Right Medicine [Kureno, Asuka]

After going almost two years without getting unbearably sick, Kureno supposed he'd gotten a little arrogant, assuming he'd naturally licked the best of his weak immune cells and didn't have to fuss so much over the little things that helped keep him well. Things like dressing more appropriately for the dropping temperature and not exposing himself to it so often. In hindsight, those things could've helped.

Kureno sneezed rather violently into what felt like his millionth tissue, wincing with a congested moan afterwards, cursing the fever that was making his head throb. He'd gotten worse after coming home from work, which he supposed meant it was lucky they sent him home when they did. He'd managed to change back into his pajamas and a sweater and grab a box of tissues before collapsing into bed where he hadn't moved from since, even though he kept thinking of other things he needed as well. Medicine, for one, but that was in a store. Or maybe there were still some pills leftover from the time Asuka had bought them lingering somewhere in his cabinets. Liquids was another; people were always saying you needed to drink plenty when ill. And he wouldn't've minded having some socks or a cold compress or something to eat that wasn't hard to chew...

"Ah-CHOO! ...guuuuuuh..."

Dying. If he died, he wouldn't have to worry about getting up for any of those things, plus he wouldn't have a body to get sick in any more. Dying sounded like a happy plan.

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Ordinarily speaking, Asuka did not speak to Izume much. With exception for bumping into her in the Hokage's tower - and those few weeks involving the dress and the date - there was usually no communication between them. It wasn't that she hated the girl or anything, it was just that they frankly lived on different levels that did interact much. Often to Asuka's preference.

Today, though, Izume deliberately reached across those levels to tap her with some information - that Kureno had gone home early, quite obviously with a cold. More like a flu, given the season. Since she was going home after finishing up the paperwork on the week's training with her team, wouldn't she want to go see how he was doing, make sure he was well taken care of ~ ? The insinuation was obvious. She took it stoically, did her damnedest not to blush at any of Izume's more obnoxious musings of 'medicine', turned in her paperwork, and headed home. Seriously, she didn't need to deal with that shit.

But she did need to make sure Kureno was taken care of, because the man was an idiot who worked himself into the ground and didn't even think to stock his cabinets with cold medicine. As if he never got sick - hah! He got sick twice as often as she did, even with her smoking, and especially in the last few years. Man, she wouldn't be surprised if he took work home with him when he was kicked out, and was currently sneezing all over it.

So after a shower and a brief stop at a convenience store to pick up some cold medicine and orange juice, Asuka found herself on Kureno's doorstep, waiting impatiently for him to answer the door. When a resounding sneeze but no answer came several minutes later, she just threw caution to the winds and let herself in - with the shiny new key he'd given her, because you deserve one if I've got a key to your place had been his excuse.

It was probably a good excuse. A good excuse for her to kick him into bed if that was paperwork he was sneezing over right now.

Asuka toed off her shoes and peeked into the living room. No Kureno. That was one hell of a sneeze if she could hear him when he was in the back of the house. "You better have taken some aspirin," she called out, moving into the kitchen to dump out her weapons of cold war, figuring that was a better way of announcing herself than just barging in. (Which she had just done, but nevermind that.) "I'm kicking your ass if you haven't!"
With no small amount of effort, Kureno raised his head off from where it'd been lying face-down in his pillow. That had sounded like Asuka. Only Asuka would threaten him with violence for something like that. Who let Asuka in his house? ...Oh yeah, she probably let herself in. Key and...stuff. That, or his fever had moved into hallucinogenic stages.

Just in case, Kureno planted his face back into his pillow and moaned, "Go 'way..."

Because really. ...His hair was a mess.
It sounded like a zombie had just moaned back there, something unintelligible but not nearly loud or coherent enough to be heard from down the hall. Whatever it was he'd just said, he didn't sound happy. In fact, he sounded quite sick. Maybe it was a good thing she had showed up, after all.

Asuka banged around the kitchen for a few moments, trying - and failing - to find any aspirin. Ah well; the cold medicine said it had some in it, surely one dose would be enough. So, armed with a mug of juice in one hand and a box of pills in the other, she proceeded to search for where, exactly, Kureno had hidden himself.

Which happened to be his bedroom (logically enough), blinds pulled tight closed and the other jounin looking little better than a miserable lump on the mattress. She almost reached for the light, then decided it would probably be better to leave it off for now. World knew she hated light when she caught the flu.

"Did you take any aspirin?" she asked quietly as she approached and set the glass down on his bedside table so she could pop out some pills. Man, he did look bad. He never let his hair get like that unless it was serious.
He didn't feel he could lift his head up again yet so instead Kureno rolled it to the side, just enough for one groggy red eye to peer up at Asuka who was here after all. Great.

"No," he said after a pause in which he only balefully stared up at her. He closed his eye again but kept talking, even though he hated the way the congestion made his voice sound. "Passed out b'fore I cud look fer any. Whad're you doingk here, As'ka?"
She tsked at his response, unsurprising as it was, plastic crinkling as she shoved the remaining pills back into the box. "Taking care of you, that's what. Izume told me you'd gone home sick, so I'm here to do what you never seem to do yourself - give you medicine."

He made no move to budge or even open his eyes, so she nudged him gently in the shoulder to get him moving. "Come on, sit up for just a minute. Take these pills and drink some orange juice. They should help make you feel better."
Kureno moaned a protest at being ordered to move and had to be hassled and poked a few times more before finally being annoyed into obedience. With some effort and definitely lots of displeasure, the man rolled himself up to sit on the edge of his bed, feet limply falling to the floor. He didn't bother straightening his clothes or even running a hand through his bed-tousled hair, figuring in his misery that leaving them be would earn him some pity, or at least put emphasis on the dreary glare he gave her for making him sit up.

Frankly it made him look like an over-sized, pouting five-year old.
A remarkably cute, over-sized, pouting five-year-old. Asuka struggled to remain straight-faced in front of it, especially because she could tell just how miserable he was feeling right now. Still. Cute.

"Here." She held out the pills and the juice until he took them, and once he was done felt his forehead. He was definitely feeling feverish, clammy and hot. Asuka sighed and pursed her lips. She hated it when he got sick like this, especially knowing it was probably something he could have avoided if he'd just taken vitamins or something. "You want an ice pack?"
At least his throat wasn't feeling that sore, otherwise swallowing those pills would've just been one more thing to add to his already abundant misery. (And too bad his orange juice was really just orange juice and not the screwdriver he'd half-hoped it was in his clouded, initial surmise.) Aaaaah, but her hand felt nice and cool against his skin, causing him to subconsciously lean into it a little. Or maybe not entirely subconsciously. He would've liked her hand on his face if he weren't feverish. But it somehow felt exceptionally refreshing right now, and his head didn't hurt so much when she...

"...Wha?" Kureno blinked and tried to put Asuka's words back in an order that his brain could process. He didn't quite manage it, but no matter what it was, he was sure it was a question or suggestion regarding his health. "Nn, whatever," he agreed/dismissed, suddenly feeling too dizzy to sit up and flopping back onto the freshly cooled fabric that was his pillow.
... yeah, he was definitely feeling pretty miserable. Asuka abruptly wondered if he had a thermometer, then just as swiftly dismissed the idea - seriously, if the man couldn't even stay stocked up on aspirin and cold medicine, why the hell would he have a thermometer? Made her want to go out and get one, though, because with as hot as he was if his fever was too high...

But that was what ice packs were for. She set the half-finished glass of juice down on his side table and left to go make one.

After another few minutes of banging around his kitchen, Asuka found herself distinctly lacking an ice pack. How in the world did he survive to this age without basic home remedies? Did he seriously just go to the hospital every time he got a runny no- no, obviously he didn't, or he wouldn't be here now. At least he had plastic baggies and hand-towels, so she could just jury-rig a cheap ice pack, but seriously. Seriously. He made so much noise about someone needing to take care of her (what with her not-always-healthy eating habits), but he was the one that really needed to be taken care of.

Asuka huffed back to his bedroom with an ice-filled baggy wrapped up in a hand-towel, half-wanting to just to throw the damn thing at his face. But he was miserable, and she was a softy towards sick people despite appearances to the contrary, so instead she just sat (carefully) on the side of the bed and nudged him gently back into semi-consciousness so she could give him the pack.
He was back to his face being buried into his pillow, half curled up on his stomach, so when she got him awake enough to accept her makeshift ice pack, he didn't manage to muster up the willpower or desire to roll onto his back. Instead, he just brought it up and half-slapped it against the exposed side of his face and let his hand and gravity keep it there.

Aaaaah, this was also nice.
If Asuka had been standing, she would have started shifting from foot to foot out of uncertainty. He was definitely sick; his lack of commentary proved just how bad he was feeling. But there wasn't anything more she could do at this point - he'd taken medicine, he had an ice pack, he was in bed resting. It could take days before he felt better enough to actually talk, to give her a better gauge of whether she should leave him alone or not. She should really go leave to get a thermometer and a proper ice pack, but...

The kunoichi glanced at the time. It wasn't horribly late yet, she could stand to wait a few hours before making any drastic cold-or-flu-fighting decisions. The ice pack would help lower his temperature, and the cold medicine too, and some rest. In a few hours he might be better enough to be trusted to take care of himself.

"... Call me if you need me," she murmured, even though she wasn't sure he'd hear her through the ice pack, and got up to find something to do for the next two hours. Hopefully he'd have some interesting reading material in his living room...
Considering Kureno had slipped into unconsciousness half a minute after receiving his ice pack, it was safe to say he did not hear Asuka's offer nor her departure from the room. And roughly an hour later, he opened his eyes and looked to where he'd last seen her, wondering where she went. It had been a restless sleep, his mind pounding and working and losing all sense of time. He still hadn't realized an hour had passed, unable to remember what time it had been when he was talking with Asuka and therefore having nothing to compare. His blinds were still closed, so he couldn't even guess from the shadow changes, although his brain likely wouldn't have had the clear thinking to figure it out anyhow. He kept wondering where on earth Asuka had gone or if he'd hallucinated her entire visit when he finally took notice of the ice pack that had fallen beside his head when he'd rolled over. It had completely melted, and while still fairly cool, it didn't give him the same relief as before.

After a couple minutes of fitful deliberation, Kureno experimentally swung his legs over the side of his bed to sit up. The fact that the room didn't spin him onto his back again seemed like a good sign he was capable of getting up on his own. ...Dammit.

Without taking any pleasure in his ability to now walk--scratch that--shuffle around his home, Kureno made his way down the halls of his house until he reached the point where his kitchen door and living room door stood adjacent one to another. ...Then he realized he should have kept a destination in mind as he found himself unsure of which way to turn.
The problem with Kureno, she should have remembered, was that he didn't read for fun. Or rather, his idea of 'fun' almost always had to do with work or research, which meant nothing interesting. Or at least, nothing interesting to her. He didn't have any historical fiction or fantasy or hell, Asuka would have even gone for a romance novel, but he didn't have any of those lying around, either. His living room was depressingly bare of interesting reading material. So, with a sigh, she had turned to a last resort: the television.

That lasted for all of twenty minutes before it was given up on as well. Television was never that interesting, anyway. So Asuka was left in a boring house, with a sick man she wasn't willing to leave alone just yet, and had nothing to do. So she did what any smart woman would do: sleep.

The sound of a bedroom door unlatching woke her instantly, though. Rubbing at her face, Asuka pushed herself up into a seated position, the arm of the couch to her back, so she had a pretty good view of Kureno when he came shambling down the hall. Not too unlike a zombie, which was probably the most accurate description for him right now.

... and when he didn't do anything except stand there, ice pack dangling from one hand, she ventured quietly, ".... Kureno? You okay?"
Living room it was then. Blinking a bit uncertainly in her direction, like he couldn't quite be sure if what he was seeing was real, Kureno turned and leaned on the door frame of the room. He'd determined it had been a while since he'd fallen asleep, right? Right. So...

"...What're you still doin' here?" he wondered aloud, shuffling in and toward the comfortable-looking couch.
"Keeping an eye on you." So to speak. She wasn't watching him every second, but she had kept an ear out if he called, just like she'd promised he could. But whether or not he remembered... that was clearly questionable. Asuka gave him a concerned look. "Are you sure you should be up?"
"Nope," was the reply before he made his way around the side of the couch and sank down into it. ...At a weird angle for him that was more on his side facing her, and he slipped a little forward before his dead weight against the back of the couch hit enough friction to stop him half a foot from Asuka. That's when his groggy mind came up with the idea to just let himself fall the rest of the way into her and the only argument was a not-really-arguing 'why the hell not?'

So without any real warning, Kureno shifted his weight to just fall the rest of the way on Asuka, which with her sitting up, landed his forehead against her neck. Her very cool neck...mmn.
Asuka, admittedly, had still been slouched down pretty far on the couch, and had only bothered to tuck her legs up a little when he sat down. The last thing she expected was for him slide over on his face, especially not on her, and had only just started to straighten up when she found herself smothered with Kureno.

... she really needed to stop making skinny cracks at him. He weighed a lot more than he looked like he did.

Worry won out over any feelings of shock or whatthefuck?! Had he just passed out? That would be very bad. Definitely very bad. Asuka squirmed under him, forcing herself into a more sitting-up position, since Kureno was currently too limp to bother helping by, you know, sitting up or anything, until his head was more pillowed on her lap/stomach than her chest (which had definitely been awkward for a moment there). It also meant he ended up more sprawled between her knees than on top of them, but that gave her more leverage and ensured she wasn't kneeing him in the gut or anything.

"Kureno?" she slid her fingers over his neck, feeling for his pulse. ... well, she thought maybe he was a tiny bit cooler than before, but he was still too hot for comfort. She really ought to have gotten that thermometer... "Now is a bad time to pass out, man."
He hummed and sighed at the relief and comfort her fingers on his neck gave him. Kakami had done something like this with him before when he'd been sick...right? Starting all sorts of nasty rumors. (Spread by Asuka herself, no less.) Well, if it was going to spread rumors again this time, at least it'd be of the kind he'd like hearing about.

"Seems good time t' me..."
Asuka would have protested that she hadn't spread any rumors. Talking to one person about her thoughts did not constitute the spreading of rumors. (She felt.) But thankfully Asuka was not aware of his thoughts, and instead only had to concentrate on being glad that he was not, in fact, unconscious. That was a good thing.

"No," she replied calmly, "it isn't. Let me make you another ice pack, and we can get you back into bed, okay?"
His pillow was complaining far too much. And shifting. Little annoying things to make him fall off or let go. Clearly it didn't know its place yet.

Bringing his arms up, he tucked them securely (or at the very least, they were too heavy and troublesome to be moved again) around her waist, grabbing his wrists and not letting go. "Here's fine," he murmured against her stomach, turning his head find the perfect comfortable stop, completely unaware of the nuzzling motion it was. "Don't need anythin' else..."
...

Did he just -

No, of course not, he was just digging in to be sick and stubborn. And he was very stubborn, Asuka quickly discovered, because ten minutes of cajoling and pushing and demanding and squirming later, she hadn't done a thing to get him to unwrap his arms from around her waist and stop latching on like a limpet. Or like she was just a giant teddy bear/body pillow for him to nap on.

Asuka gave a heavy, frustrated sigh. If she really wanted to be mean, she could just pinch him or whack him or roll him off the couch. But the heat coming off him made it all too clear that he was sick, and not just copping a feel, so deliberately hurting him just to get him off kinda made her feel bad. Not that having him snuggling her stomach was exactly all that much better, but...

".... you're gonna make me sick," she whined.

Nope, whining didn't do anything either. If anything, she was now pretty positive that despite her efforts he'd just gone right back to sleep. ...fine. She could deal with this. If she got sick, she'd just make him take care of her in return, as it'd be entirely his fault. It was just too bad she didn't have a camera... or a book.