“Saihara.” Maybe it was just hot in here, maybe the air conditioning was broken. “Saiharaaa.” Although, that seemed a bit implausible. Why would the air conditioning break in this school when the monokubs could just fix it? “Saihara!” A voice shouted, sounding agitated yet worried.
Shuichi jumped, the tone grabbing onto his train of thought of forcefully pulling it off the tracks. Kaede huffed beside him as Shuichi blankly blinked at her, startled.
“Are you okay?” Kaede asked, sounding exasperated. She could clearly tell by the distress soaking his scent that he was being bothered by something.
“I’m..,” Shuichi hesitated, clenching his hand, dropping his gaze. He wasn’t very sure what was wrong with him, but something was definitely bothering him. “I’m just… I don’t feel right…” Shuichi stuttered out, peering at his friend past his ever present-cap. Kaede gave him a confused, concerned look. She leaned in closer, taking in his features, trying to get a read on him, trying to pick up on the smaller details of his scent.
“How so? What’s bothering you?” Kaede asked. Shuichi opened his mouth, then closed it again. He felt unbearably anxious.
“I feel like… theres something I should be preparing for, but I cant tell what it is..,” Shuichi murmured. Kaede could tell he had more to say, more circling his mind, so she waited patiently for him to grab hold of the right words, a reassuring smile gracing her features.
“I-I’m very hot, and my skin feels tingly. I want to… I want to be close to someone,” He explained, clearly perturbed by his own feelings. Kaede nodded slowly, taking in the information herself, trying to make sense of it. She waited a few seconds before standing in a smooth, slow motion, clearly choosing her actions with care.
“Can I try something?” She asked, almost hesitantly. “We might be able to figure out what’s bothering you if we can try this.” Although he very much so trusted his dear friend, Shuichi hesitated. He couldn’t tell what caused him to hold back, he usually was ready to do anything Kaede asked about, but something was pestering him that told him to wait. Kaede let out a soft, neutral scent, calming him down but not overpowering him, his jumbled thoughts untangling ever so slightly.
Shuichi slowly stood up, feeling more at ease, and Kaede took his hand. Shuichi sunk back into his thoughts as they walked, loosing track of where they were headed. He really couldn’t pinpoint what his malfunction was, but Kaede seemed to have an idea, so he put his hesitant faith in her.
When Shuichi came to, they were in front of his room. He gave the pianist a curious look, not sure what path her mind was on. Kaede gestured to the door, an unspoken “open it” fluttering past Shuichi’s ears and settling among his thoughts.
Despite his confusion, Shuichi opened the door, holding it wide for Kaede to step inside. She instead waited, gesturing for him to go inside. She wanted him to be comfortable and make all the first moves. Kaede didn’t want to shove Shuichi into an uncomfortable if she correctly hypothesized what was wrong with him.
Shuichi stepping into his own room, slowly, and turned to face his friend when he reached the middle of the floor. He stood anxiously, skin crawling, scent uncomfortable. Kaede closed the door, then moved to sit on the edge of Shuichi’s bed. The detective watched her, nervousness creeping into him as she patted the spot beside her, wanting Shuichi to join her.
The omega slowly made his way over, sitting on the bed with such gentleness that Kaede briefly felt that maybe she too should be sitting carefully. Shuichi settled, facing Kaede but keeping his eyes lowered, lashes hooding pupils that flitted across the duvet uneasily.
“I’m going to check the scent glands on your legs,” Kaede said very softly, being careful with her choice in tone. Shuichi stared at her with wide, frightened eyes. “I won’t if you are uncomfortable, but I want to make sure that I’m right about what I think is wrong with you before I make a big fuss.” Kaede placed a slim hand on his, a reassuring action.
Shuichi gulped. The scent glands on ones wrist were commonly scented by friends, and the ones on the neck were for closer friends, people you trusted more, so if Kaede had asked to check on either of those Shuichi wouldn’t have minded. But the pianist asked to check the glands on his legs, more specifically, his inner thighs. It was a very sensitive spot, for one, and was normally only touched or scented by lovers. While Shuichi did love Kaede, he didn’t love her to the point of romance. This may be too much…
“Again, you don’t have to, and I’m not trying to force you into anything,” Kaede continued, and Shuichi almost missed her soft words, being stampeded by his own racing thoughts. “Shuichi,” the beta tried, and Shuichi looked up at her, making shaky eye contact. “Please, I need a yes or no, Shuichi.” The detective shivered, anxiety racing down his spine.
But he wanted to know what was bothering him so bad, and Kaede seemed to know. She won’t hurt him, she won’t. They’re friends, and Shuichi trusts her. Shuichi gives a soft nod, and then lets a soft “Yes.” escape, agreeing to let her check his scent glands.
“Alright!” She said, immediately switching back to her peppy self. “You have to take your pants off, okay?” Shuichi nodded without rhythm, nervously moving to shimmy his pants down his legs. Kaede looked off to the side as he did so, at least giving him some semblance of privacy. He folded his striped pants and laid them on the table, dusting them off to stall for a moment before he shifted to face Kaede again.
“Okay, scoot back on the bed a bit so you’ll be more comfy.” Kaede told him, gesturing to the array of pillows and blankets at the head of his bed. Maybe he should have cleaned that before he left this morning. Shuichi had sort of surrounded himself with all of his soft things for a while, not understanding why he did it but not fighting the urge either, but he had left a terrible mess out as a result.
Shuichi crawled back on his bed, and Kaede followed, settling in front of him as he leaned back on the pit of blankets. Shuichi subconsciously shifted his legs up to his chest, gaze fidgeting nervously across the room. Kaede let out a little huff before her soft scent ebbed out, calming the visibly frazzled omega. Shuichi took a breath, finally resting his sight on Kaede, taking in her steady body language, reassuring.
“Okay,” She started, a hand fluttering down to his knee. “Spread your legs just a bit, I need to actually feel your scent glands.” She laughed a bit at his heavy blush. He spread his legs, just enough for her to run a hand along the glands. He couldn’t regard her much longer without overwhelming embarrassment painting him, so he stared down at his sheets. Shuichi trembled horribly as Kaede finally placed a considerate hand against his inner thigh, and he knew she could smell his spike of fear, distrust, and feel him jerk away from her. She patted his leg with her other hand, a relaxed gesture, unflustered by the situation.
“I’m going to knead the scent out, is that alright?” Kaede asked. Shuichi nodded, high-strung and tense, but Kaede accepted the skittish nod and gently pressed against the gland. Shuichi jumped and whimpered, unable to help himself, and Kaede hushed him gently, trying to keep him calm. A minuscule amount of his scent drifted into the air. Shuichi himself couldn’t make out the meaning of the unusually sweet scent, but hopefully the pianist before him could. Her eyes were focused, her nose wrinkled as she scented the air.
She pressed again, the pressure coaxing out more of the troubling scent. Shuichi picked out a tinge of bitterness, but couldn’t define the emotion troubling him. Shuichi, let out a soft, uncomfortable sound this time, but kept himself from pulling away from her hand. Kaede praised him in a hushed tone.
She pressed a final time before it seemed she came to a conclusion, and Shuichi couldn’t express his relief when her hands left the sensitive part of his body. Kaede looked troubled, but confident in her findings. She didn’t move away from Shuichi at all, staying in close proximity to him. While her hands on his legs had made him nervous, being able to smell her in this close brought him a restful mind.
“So,” Kaede murmured, more to herself than Shuichi, but the utterance still caught his complete attention. “You are going into a stress heat.” Shuichi’s scent spiked violently with distress, and he let out a shocked gasp, pulling his knees up to his chest subconsciously.
“Shh calm down, calm down!” Kaede raised her hands and waved them in a ‘settle down’ gesture. But how was he supposed to calm down? He wasn’t supposed to have a heat for weeks, much less a stress heat! They lasted longer and required much more love and physical touch than a heat. Stress heats focused more on affection rather than mating, but it was just as dangerous, if not more so. Omegas in stress heat suffered extreme fevers and could become malnourished if they didn’t care for themselves properly. They could become mindless almost. Not to mention the horrible cramps and mood swings. It was so dangerous without an alpha there to battle the rush of omega hormones. And Shuichi was completely alpha-less.
“Saihara,” Kaede’s voice cut through his rampant thoughts, clearing the omega’s now fuzzy head for just a moment. “We’ll figure something out, I know you’re already worrying, but it will be okay.” The pianist told him. Shuichi waited for a moment before answering, trying to calm himself down enough to reply even somewhat eloquently.
“O-Okay… I trust you.” Shuichi mumbled, anxiety evident in his quivering words. Kaede gave a soft smile, settling his haywire nerves. Kaede moved back a bit, giving the omega some much needed space so he could adjust to the information and gather himself after the little inspection. Kaede reached over and handed Shuichi his neatly folded pants. Shuichi murmured a soft ‘thank you’ before he slid the pants on, feeling more comfortable that way.
“So you’re clearly not fully in heat yet, but I’d say you have maybe two days until it completely hits you,” Kaede told him, a safe smile resting on her features. Shuichi nodded uneasily. “I know you’re nervous and we aren’t, prepared, but we have time. Let’s go get you some things, alright?” The beta said, using a gentle lilt of command in her voice to get the omega to listen. She may not want to control him, but maybe being out and about will make him more comfortable.
Shuichi looked hesitant at the notion of leaving, but soon agreed with a faint nod. Kaede stood up and held out a hand, offering to help Shuichi stand. He took the offer, grip loose, and stood as well, following her steps out of the room after he slipped on his shoes. They headed down to the warehouse area near the cafeteria. Shuichi himself didn’t know what he needed for his own heat, so he hoped Kaede had an idea.
They walked into the room, and Kaede immediately marched off to the back, a sense of purpose in her long strides as she dragged the omega behind her. She took a sharp right turn at the end, going down a few aisles before stopping, her complete focus on the racks of items. She stood silent for a moment, eyes scanning the myriad of different objects.
“Ah!” She finally exclaimed after a few more painful seconds, causing Shuichi to jump in surprise. She let go of his hand to hurry over to the shelf that caught her eye, reaching back and searching. She pulled out a thick, fuzzy looking blanket, some other blankets similar to it falling off the rack as she grabbed the one she wanted.
“You’ll need some nesting materials, right? I saw you had some thin blankets and flat pillows in your room, but they wont compare to this!” She snatched up another blanket before pulling a round pillow off of a higher shelf, stacking them together to hold easily. She bolted off before Shuichi had the chance to say a word, heading down a suppurate aisle.
Shuichi caught up with her moments later, finding her incredibly troubled.
“They dont..,” She sifted through what looked to be containers of pills, shoving it aside and looking deeper. “They don’t have any pain medication or suppressants.” Kaede said with a frown. Shuichi’s eyes widened, distress painting his scent. The pain from a stress heat was, if he remembers properly, unbearable without some medicated relief.
Kaede, this time, had no initial comfort to give the panicked detective. Her eyes lingered on the shelf for a moment before she let it fall down. She turned to Shuichi and set her face back to a small smile.
“It’ll be okay,” she said peppily, “We’ll pick up something that can retain heat, and that should help with pain.” Shuichi nodded in agreement. He worried that wouldn’t be enough to quell the pain he was sure to feel, but there wasn’t much he could do about it. He needed to appreciate Kaede’s overwhelming help and support rather than complain, so he righted his thoughts and followed her, already moving down yet another aisle.
She handed Shuichi a pack of water and a bunch of special protein bars that were stored down low, packed in boxes. They weren’t sure if he’d want to leave his nest, so they needed to make sure he had the sustenance to stay in his room for as long as the stress heat affected him. Kaede snatched some sort of bottle from one of the shelves, looking pleased with her finding. With a pep in her step, the pianist left the warehouse, Shuichi following behind, feeling much more confident about the whole situation now that his friend had helped him organize everything.
The two hurried back to his room with their armful of supplies. They didn’t want to cross paths with anyone, because while Shuichi wasn’t going into a heat that required—ahem—mating, he was still going to be producing pheromones that would draw in alphas. So it was safer for them to not know, than to know and be drawn to him before he’s even entered the stress heat.
Shuichi unlocked his door, and Kaede burst through, throwing all her items on his bed. She let out a sigh of relief, placing her hands on her hips.
“That was much heavier to carry than I thought it would be!” She exclaimed, twirling around the face the omega who was still holding his own items. He moved over to place them on the ground next to his small dresser, neatly pushing them against the wall there. His eyes roamed up nervously at the mess that had become of his bed. He flitted hesitantly over to the pile of new blankets and pillows, unable to pin what was leading to the hesitance holding him back from just rearranging his nest.
Kaede was watching him quietly, seriously now. Shuichi couldn’t tell if she was gauging his closeness to the heat or if she was just making sure she didn’t do anything to startle him. Kaede took a step away from the bed, giving the omega some room. Shuichi still hesitated, wariness gracing the atmosphere that hovered around him.
“I can leave if you need me to, so you can build your nest.” Kaede offered. Shuichi didn’t feel particularly inclined to be alone right now. He didn’t know why, but he really didn’t want to be left in the empty space of his room by himself.
“It’s fine, you can stay.” He murmured, almost soundless. Kaede nodded, moving back enough to give him full access to all areas of his bed, and she sat down on the floor, watching the omega. Shuichi grabbed a handful of the new thick blanket, finding the confidence to fix his nest, rubbing his fingertips along it, feeling the incredibly soft material that pleased the omega in him.
He pulled the blanket off the bed, tossing it on the floor, much to Kaede’s confusion from her place on the floor. Shuichi grabbed the rest of his blankets and pillows, new and old, dragging them down as well. Shuichi straightened his sheets, then finally started building his nest.
He placed his old, thin sheets at the bottom of the nest, then used a few of the slightly thicker ones to start the walls of the nest. He arranged them and rearranged them until he was content with the shape. Then he grabbed the new pillows and blankets, leaving the old pillows on the ground. He placed these along the edges as well, creating an almost velvety wall of blankets and pillows. The old pillows were set up along the foot of the bed, not much use there, but available if they were needed.
Shuichi picked up the weird bottle that Kaede had picked up earlier, now realizing what it was. It was indeed a bottle, but meant for cramps, shaped to be more flat than a cylindrical bottle. You were supposed to fill it with water, shake it, wait for it to heat up and the bottle was supposed to sooth cramps of all sorts. Shuichi put this next to the stack of food on the floor.
Had Kaede not been one of his best friends, she would be a wonderful and caring mate. Shuichi slowly crawled up onto his bed and into his nest, sitting down in the center and observing around it. He let out a little content huff, pleased with his handiwork. He noticed Kaede move from the corner of his eye, standing up.
She walked towards him, something held in her closed hand, and he, despite himself, warily moved backwards on the bed and into the safety of his nest. When the pianist reached the edge of the omega’s bed, she reached her hand out to him, making sure not to touch the nest. She held a pill bottle, and Shuichi looked up at his friend, confused.
“They’re scent suppressants,” She explained with a slight smile. “I’m not exactly sure how the alphas will react to a stress heat, since its not the same as a regular heat, but better safe than sorry!” She shook the bottle gently, and Shuichi took it, not touching her hand. He felt nervous having her around his nest, but he trusted her and was doing his best not to hide away.
Shuichi reached down and picked up one of the bottles of water, opening it and the pill bottle, taking one of the pills with a quick swig of water to down it.
“Thank you, Akamatsu, I really appreciate you helping me.” Kaede visibly lit up at the words, a dazzling smile finding its way into her expression.
“It’s no problem at all! I just want you to be comfortable and safe, of course.” She replied, taking a step back from the nest to give him some room. Shuichi gave a small nod of appreciation.
“I really don’t think your heat will kick in for a while, you should be okay for a day or two if you want to still go to breakfast and such.” Shuichi nodded at the words, thinking it over. He really didn’t want anyone knowing about the heat, but he also might need one of the alphas to know in case he needed them. It was almost night anyways, he can sleep on his thoughts and get back to Kaede in the morning.
“I think I’ll just sleep for tonight, and I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Shuichi said very softly, peering at Kaede from under his cap. Kaede gave a reassuring smile.
“That’s no problem,” Kaede said, turning to leave. The action filled a shock of panic through Shuichi. He didn’t want to be alone… “I’ll talk to you tomorrow, okay? Remember that you are safe in here, okay?” Kaede said, her hand turning the door knob. Shuichi hesitated, then gave a quick, succinct nod. He still didn’t want her to leave him, but in the rational part of his mind he knew she would prefer a good nights rest in her own room.
Instead of using anymore words, Shuichi lifted his hand and gave a small wave, nervous but trying to accept the words he was told. Kaede mimicked the gesture with an almost amused smile before leaving, closing the door behind her. Shuichi heard the click of the lock, and then felt the emptiness of the atmosphere.
Shuichi rubbed at his arms, a gesture of fake comfort. He eased himself out of his nest, having to force himself up, to put on some soft pajamas. He slinked his way back into his nest when that was finished, burying his face into one of the fluffy pillows. He still needed to chose an alpha that could help him. He wasn’t opposed to someone like Kaito or even Maki sitting with him through it, but he was really after one alpha in particular. But… would the others accept him wanting to stay with such a mischievous person? Shuichi knew a lot of people didn’t care for his preferred alpha, but he had gotten to know them a bit and quite liked them…
Shuichi couldn’t risk stressing himself out right now, he had to sleep and worry about it in the morning. His scent had been picking up, more bitter and unpleasant as he fretted over his potential lack of alpha. This is something he’ll rethink about tomorrow. For now, he’ll let his soft nest lull him to a fitful sleep.