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Modern Musou

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Cao Pi had thought that Mitsunari always spoke his mind. It's a common belief, with how rude he is to anyone who isn't his direct superior at work. So now that he's stuck watching Mitsunari after a minor surgery that the doctors gave him way too much anesthesia for, he's surprised to learn that the usual Mitsunari merely says approximately a third of the rude things that come to mind, and words them quite tactfully, comparatively.

It's to the point where Cao Pi knows he has to keep Mitsunari away from anyone he typically butts heads with unless he feels like watching Mitsunari get punched in the face. He also preemptively distracts him or even goes so far as to cover his mouth when they encounter strangers, including wait staff because Mitsunari is refusing to go home until he's had something to eat.

Since Cao Pi had to order for him, Mitsunari complains about the food as well as Cao Pi's apparent preferences to have chosen that meal for him, but their lunch is otherwise uneventful. Cao Pi, in his own opinion, has been doing an excellent job of tuning out this significantly more stupid Mitsunari as well as keeping him on a leash. He does still lament that Sakon is out of town and Yoshitsugu isn't free for another four hours, though. He really has better things to do.

Whenever Mitsunari can't find something to complain about, he's complimenting things around him but in the strangest way.

"Look at that building," he says in a type of awe that sounds a bit like disgust to Cao Pi.

"I suppose it is rather ugly," Cao Pi agrees in advance.

"No, look at the structure itself. The architecture is incredible. How old is this-- pull over, I want to ask about this building."

"That's someone's house, Mitsunari."

"Then they would be fools not to know about it. That's much better than if it were a restaurant or some such."

"You don't think the owner or at least manager would know about the structural integrity of their restaurant?"

"Why would a manager speak to me about that? I would be stuck with a cashier or something who knows nothing," he states.

At least he doesn't have any delusions that people should do whatever he wants. Which is frankly odd, now that Cao Pi thinks about it, since he's got a bit of a reputation for acting that way when he's not high as a kite.

"We've already passed it anyway," Cao Pi informs him in case he hasn't registered that fact yet. "I'm taking you home and then we're waiting for Pang De to arrive and make sure you don't do anything stupid like going back outside. Then, Yoshitsugu will show up eventually to take over."

"I don't need to be babysat. If I were able to focus on the road right now, I could drive myself," Mitsunari insists. Cao Pi doesn't bring up the fact that Mitsunari doesn't have a license.

When they get to Mitsunari's apartment, Cao Pi tells him to lie down and stop talking. Mitsunari refuses but does it anyway without further prompting, earning an amused scoff out of Cao Pi.

Now that he finally has some peace and quiet, Cao Pi realizes that Mitsunari somehow managed not to insult him a single time despite his current state, aside from insulting his taste in food, which essentially means nothing to him anyway. He finds it quite odd, especially since Mitsunari will always find things to give him a hard time about when he's in his right state of mind. It's possible that he's just been too distracted by everything around him to bother with Cao Pi, which means that he might be walking into a storm of insults if he checks on Mitsunari in his room.

Or, he realizes, it could be a case of a child bullying someone they like on the playground because they don't know how else to get their attention. Cao Pi adjusts his wedding ring with his thumb and prepares to remind Mitsunari that he's married if it comes to that.

When Pang De arrives, Yoshitsugu walks through the door with him and informs Cao Pi that he snuck away from the wedding he'd been stuck at to take Mitsunari off his hands early. So long as Yoshitsugu himself wasn't the groom, Cao Pi can't take issue with his decision.

The moment he leads them to Mitsunari's room, partially to make sure he's still alive and fully because he forgot he was going to avoid him at all costs from then on, Mitsunari addresses him.

"Cao Pi. I have a confession to make."

Oh lord, here it comes. Since Mitsunari has been unexpectedly civil with him even while under anesthesia-- in fact, quite possibly moreso than usual-- he makes the incredibly painful decision to attempt to save him from embarrassing himself.

"Whatever it is, it can wait until tomorrow. I don't have any more time to waste babysitting you, especially now that others are free." He gestures to Pang De and Yoshitsugu at his sides.

"I don't dislike you," he goes ahead and says anyway. "The reason why I give you such a hard time is because I respect you, and I want you to feel the same way about me, but I don't know how to get your approval, so I get frustrated. I know I can be impossible sometimes and... believe me, nobody is more disappointed in my behavior than myself."

The minor slurring unfortunately does nothing to impact the effect of Mitsunari's words. Cao Pi considers giving him a sarcastic response, saying that he's proud of him or something, but Mitsunari might take it literally like this anyway.

"How likely is it that he'll remember this conversation?" he turns to Yoshitsugu to ask.

"It depends. Would you like to take a chance?"

"Both of you, out," Cao Pi orders after a moment's thought. They both leave, Pang De with a bow and Yoshitsugu with a fond wave at his incapacitated friend.

Once they've left, Cao Pi takes a few slow steps to Mitsunari's bedside.

"I already respect you, Mitsunari. You impress me time and again." He pauses for a prolonged moment. "And if you ever bring up this conversation, I will insist you made it up."

With no filter, Mitsunari doesn't hide his smile. Cao Pi knows for certain that he's never seen Mitsunari smile genuinely like this before, without a hint of smug satisfaction or forced politeness, and he doesn't doubt that he may be the first to see it at all.

On his way out, Cao Pi entrusts Mitsunari to Yoshitsugu and has Pang De stay as well in case of emergency, since he's already there. Cao Pi has a lot to write down about Mitsunari so he can lord it all over his head later without forgetting any details.