When Sena woke up that morning, he felt nauseous, and his head hurt. This was further complicated when Monta called him, and his cell's ringtone was like a knife in his ears. His hand fumbled, squeezing the phone quickly to turn the damn thing OFF, he didn't care if it was Monta telling him he was going to be late for class, he wanted it OFFOFFOFF. When the ringing stopped, and his phone bleeped at him that he'd gotten a voicemail, he threw it half-heartedly. He winced when it thumped onto the floor.
He burrowed under the covers, covering his head, closing his eyes, and just imagining himself inside of a warm, soft nest. Part of him idly considered making a pillow fort, but the rest of him quickly overruled it by having his stomach turn sharply and threaten a quick and messy end.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that time was passing, though whether it was minutes, hours, or even days, he wasn't really sure, and he was quickly losing his ability to care. The pain was throbbing in the left half of his head, filling his ears and making him want to burrow away further to hide from the noise.
Sometime later, the door to his room opening was like nails across a chalkboard, the heavy footsteps on the floor like hammers against his skull. He let out a small whimper, but otherwise didn't react.
The blankets shifted, and a pair of dark brown eyes looked at him, along with a familiar mop of black hair. "Kobayakawa Sena?"
Sena squeezed his eyes shut and curled into a ball. "I'm sorry for not receiving you properly," he whispered. "Could you put the covers back over me, please? I want to die in peace."
Sena was fairly sure Shin (he was fairly sure it was Shin, but it could've been his hallucination of Shin from high school coming back to haunt him) frowned, because he usually did that when confronted with something he couldn't readily identify. The covers were laid back over him, thankfully, returning to the warm cocoon he'd managed to make for himself.
There were more heavy footsteps (Sena wished he'd remembered to ask Shin to walk more softly), and his door creaked again. Blissful silence continued outside of his cocoon until the footsteps were back, followed by Shin being an evil, evil bastard and removing the covers long enough to wrap one hand around Sena's fingers, for some reason, and then peer at Sena's face. Sena took back his hand when he could and dragged one pillow over to cover his face with.
"I see," Shin murmured. The blanket returned again, and merciful, merciful silence fell.
When Sena emerged from the covers willingly, he was surprised to see that darkness had fallen, and that moonlight was streaming in through his bedroom window. Standing up and stretching gingerly, Sena saw it was close to eight o'clock, and was surprised to find that he was pretty hungry.
He'd been about to make his way to the kitchen when he remembered that he'd dropped his phone. Checking the voicemail messages got him three calls, all from Monta.
You have three messages. First message:
Hey, Sena, it's me. Look, you're going to be max late for class, man! ... Hell, you're usually better about picking up than this. I seriously hope that you're not sick. We've got the game against Oujou University on Saturday, and we're gonna need you at max strength if we're going to have a chance against Shin. Well, as soon as you get this, call me, okay?
Sena winced. He should remember to call Monta. He pushed the button he was fairly sure would delete the message. He'd gotten better with cell phones since high school, but ever since he'd had to buy a replacement in America, he'd had the damndest time trying to figure out how to do the simplest stuff. It also didn't help that his teammates had ragged on him for accidentally washing it with his dirty clothes.
*BEEP* Message deleted. Next message:
Sena? Me again. Monta said, Look, I was just joking about you being sick, okay? Hang on-- yeah, I got his voicemail again. Yeah, I know. Sorry, Unsui got worried when you didn't show for practice. Anyway, if you don't get up soon, I'm gonna send someone on over, okay? We'll be fine against Oujou, remember? Shin's been training hard, but so have you. Don't let it get you down! There's nothing to worry about, max!
Sena winced and pushed the button again.
*BEEP* Message deleted. Next message:
That's it, Riku said bluntly. We're sending someone on over to make sure you haven't done something stupid, like commit seppuku in the bathroom to make the clean-up easier.
Sena's eyes widened.
Outside of his bedroom, he heard the front door of his small apartment open.
Ducking his head into the apartment proper, he found himself staring at Shin Seijuurou, who walked inside and closed the door after himself. He was carrying a large, paper bag with some groceries poking out the top of it.
"Shin-san!" Sena yelped after staring at him blankly. "What're you doing-- here, let me help with that!"
Shin walked over to the counter and carefully placed the bag of groceries on the counter next to the refrigerator. "I do not require assistance." He turned to look at Sena. "Are you well?"
Sena blinked before he realized that maybe the Shin who had checked on him before might not have been a hallucination after all. He felt his face turn red, but he was more focused on bowing and apologizing profusely. "Yes, I am, thank you for your concern! I'm all right, now, really! You didn't have to go to all the trouble to check on me. I'm feeling much better now."
Shin watched him for a long moment before nodding. "Good. When we face off against each other on Saturday, I do not want for you to be ill or injured. I want to face you at the pinnacle of your strength."
Sena blushed again. "I agree! I wouldn't want to face you at anything less than your best as well, Shin-san!" His gaze slid over to the brown bag, which Shin was methodically emptying into either the refrigerator or the cabinet Sena had designated as his pantry. "Um, may I ask what you're doing?"
Shin paused in his work to face him. "When I first came over, I saw that you were experiencing symptoms outside of a regular cold or flu virus. I called Takami Ichirou and described your symptoms, and he told me that you were experiencing a migraine. He also informed me that one of the potential triggers for a migraine is hunger, and since your pantry and refrigerator were empty, I wanted to ensure that you would not have another one before our game."
"Oh!" Sena said, his face flushing again. He wondered if he was ever going to stop blushing, or if he was going to look like a tomato around Shin for the rest of the year. "That was very considerate of you! Thank you!"
Shin frowned. "When I spoke with Kaitani Riku on the phone, he stated that you had been concerned about the match on Saturday."
"What?" Sena's eyes widened. "Oh, no, I'm all right! It's fine! I'll be able to face you at full strength on Saturday!"
Shin's frown didn't diminish. "He stated that you had been unable to focus during practice, that you were training, but were unable to concentrate."
Sena shook his head. "I'm fine, Shin-san, really." At Shin's skeptical look, he sighed. "I've had a little bit of trouble, but it's better now. It's just been a long time since I've been able to face you on the field."
Shin nodded firmly. "I have not encountered a rival in the past year that has been able to give me as much of a challenge as you have."
"Oh." Sena blushed, scratching the back of his head. "I... I missed our matches while I was in America. They have many very capable players, but... it was different playing against you." He tried not to blush harder, but he was fairly sure it wasn't working.
Shin nodded. "We have both spent time training in anticipation of facing each other again. It will be a good match."
Sena nodded in return. "I hope I won't disappoint you," he admitted softly.
Shin frowned in confusion. "You never have in the past. You will not do so on Saturday." After crushing the bag in one hand and throwing it away in the trash can Sena kept under the sink, Shin nodded to a slack-jawed Sena. "I will see you on Saturday." With that, he left the apartment, firmly closing the door behind him.
Sena blinked, and found that he felt a whole lot better.