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“Say, ‘Ahh!’” 

“Wh-mmm!”

Wow. He REALLY didn’t think Uno would get in on this…whatever it is.

Or should I have?, Jyugo thinks as he swallows. He does seem to really like nagging him about all this “necessary to stay alive” stuff.

But…

“Open up, time for more.”

He did NOT expect to be plopped onto Uno’s lap (Where did he come from?) from where he was sitting and fed out of a tub of strawberry yogurt just when he was about to get started on the jumbo (Reuben’s? Rutledge?) cube Seitarou got him, surprisingly strong arm wrapped around his waist to keep him from getting up until whenever Uno deems his job done.

So, Jyugo does the most mature thing he can think of.

He keeps his mouth clamped shut.

“Oh, you little...” Uno notices, swallowing his own mouthful from a second spoon.

“Mmm (Whatever).”

“It’s your own fault we’re doing this, you know.”

“Mmmmm (I get it).” He looks to the side, DEFINETLY not pouting.

“Jyugo. Open up.”

Jerk.

“Ahh.” And the spoonful’s in his mouth.

“Good boy.” Uno says in that annoyingly patronizing voice he gets when he forces everyone to do what he wants.

He SERIOUSLY shouldn’t have written Uno off on this weird thing everyone’s doing.

If everyone else was doing it, he should have seen it coming.

The guards, Nico, Tsukumo…

Rock.

The yogurt got sour all of a sudden.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

His head feels fuzzy.

And Nico, sweet, blessed Nico, won’t SHUT. UP.

“And then there was a ‘BOOM! BOOM! CRASH!’ and the villain was all, ‘Curses! I’ll have my revenge!’ and then-and then the hero went, “Never! You crusty old…”

And Uno’s STUPID facial stuff is making him go all over the cell, and that’s ANNOYING.

…he needs to get out of here.

Sitting up, he nearly falls down, he’s really woozy on his feet, and that get’s the guys' attention.

They’re asking if he’s okay, you feel alright, and it’s nice but he DOESN’T. NEED. IT. RIGHT. NOW.

“Jyugo?”

The room is spinning, it’s going black at the edges…

He doesn’t make it to the door before he crashes down.

The guys are yelling, freaking out, SHUT UP, he feels Rock lifting him up.

“You’re gonna be okay buddy, we’ll get you to the doctor.”

He hears Uno yelling for a guard as he slips off.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

He wakes up and OW. The light hurts his eyes.

He’s in the infirmary, and the guys see he woke up.

Nico looks relieved, Uno’s already chewing him out and Rock…

Rock looks… pissed.

Not in the regular “I will break your legs, why’d you eat my donut you dirtbag?!” way, it’s more like a “Why? Why did you do this?” way with the tight, closed mouth and the serious look in his eyes.

He’s honestly more scared of that look than anything else Rock could do to him.

Before he can say anything, the doc comes in and throws a pack of nuts on his bed.

“Chew.” The old fart barks out at him.

“No thanks, I’m not really-”

“Jyugo. Do it.” Rock tells him in a tight voice.

And he will not mess with that.

He tries to open it but whatever (pretty much non-existent) strength he has is gone and he can’t. Nico, saint that he is, does it for him. He tries to pat him on the head as thanks but the kid gently puts his hand down and on the nuts. He lifts some up and starts chewing.

“Long story short,” the old man begins, “upon your arrival, we took some samples to check for any signs of illness; we didn’t find any but your blood sugar’s dropped like crazy. In concern, I checked your vitals and you’re showing deficiencies in pretty much everything. And even without a professional opinion, congratulations, you’ve advanced from twig to toothpick, so here’s the question: Why aren’t you eating, you brat?”

Crap.

“Jyugo. Answer the question.” And Uno’s arms are crossed pinning a glare at him.

“Look, it’s not-I’m not-I just-”

“If you’re trying to get skinnier so you can impress a girl who’s desperate enough to go out with you, your weight was never the issue, everything else about you was! Actually, it was an issue, but the other way around, idiot!” Stupid girl-obsessed Uno.

“Did A** for O** take out your stomach?!” Nico, I love you, but why are you like this?

“Why?” Rock.

“…I just…”

I just don’t feel like it, there’s no point, food goes down like lead, why does me staying alive matter again?

“…I just don’t feel like it.”

“Tough crap, I spoke with the chef about your nutritional requirements and the staff should be working on something for you. For right now, let’s get you weighed.”
He’s assisted to the scale, and yeah, his metabolism’s crazy, but, it’s only been a few weeks, so it shouldn’t be-

“46.5 kilos. Normally it wouldn’t be that bad, but considering you were averaging at 51 kilos, which was already underweight for your age and height while still an improvement from when you arrived…”

“SERIOUSLY JYUGO?!” Uno does not sound happy and he’s fisting his shirt, “You’re only half a kilo higher than Nico?!”

“Hey!”

“Not now Nico.”

“Okay.”

And Rock is…just looking at him. Not saying a word. Still mad in that disappointed way, and Jyugo knows that things can’t get worse than this.

I’m sorry.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Well, things can get worse, much worse actually, because ever since they got back from the infirmary, everyone in the freaking building’s been treating him like a freaking goat. Not helped at all with Shiro constantly hounding over him to make sure he finishes his food in the cafeteria (I can’t believe he actually accepted my apology when I didn’t even appreciate his work) and Rock(He still hates me)’s annoying new habit of taking his plate and not giving it back until they’re at the table and it’s loaded with food. And Uno’s not even letting him escape in order “to preserve whatever calories your scrawny tush can keep” from getting burned and he’s enforcing lockdown HARD.

So, to keep from getting completely lost in his head (It’s scary in here) he’s watching a show with Nico, something about wolves that turn into (honestly, not that bad-looking) humans looking for a flower chick to find paradise or whatever.

“Here!” And Nico’s passing over some pocky.

“Hm? Thanks Nico, but I’m good.” And he tries to push it down but Nico shoves the box into his space.

“But shows like this need snacks to eat for when you get sad and need to eat your feelings like Uno-kun does with tapioca when he gets dumped and then cries because he’s hyper-critical about his body fat percentage due to being a slave to societal definitions of beauty!”

“HEY!” Indignantly is yelled across the room.

“…Where did you learn to say that?”

“Hitoshi-chan!”

Sighing, Jyugo realizes he won’t get anywhere with this and starts on a stick.

“You can have the box if you want, I have my own!”

Sneaky little rat.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

He’s in the guard office because Seitarou “needed” someone to test his cookies for him.

“You know I probably can’t tell the difference between this and store-bought crap, right?”

“Gye! R-rigght, but if you, um, still think that they’re good, then, um, I’ll know if I can take them to a crowd! Yeah, that’s right!”

Sighing, he grabs one, “And what “party” were these for again?” he asks, examining the lemon-raspberry biscuit with white chocolate chips.

And because he’s been caught, the wimp gives a full-body shiver, “GAAHH! Oh, the um, “Office Stapler Appreciation Banquet!” It’s a very important tradition here that’s been celebrated since the prison’s founding!” Yes Seitarou, you definitely didn’t pull that from the seat of your pants. 

“Uh-huh. Sure.” And he bites down into one, “Huh. Good.”

“Really?!” And he looks WAY too happy about that, “Well have as many as you want, these are only for testing!”

“…So how many do I have to-”

“At least five, please.”

At least the cookies taste good.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 

Tsukumo, actor that he may be, is not being convincing in the slightest.

“To improve my cutting technique, I need to practice on something that requires precision to achieve absolute success in both appearance and survival.”

“…And I have to eat the reject sashimi, why?”

“A ninja must leave no trace.”

“…Fine, but if you screwed up and the fish is still toxic, I’m going to haunt you for like a week.”

“Why only a week?”

“I’d probably get bored of knocking over all your stuff.”

Unfortunately Tsukumo actually got cutting the fugu right and he did not get poisoned; he is still stuck with these idiots.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

At least Yamato was straight with him.

“No 15-kun! I am very concerned with your recent weight loss and insist that you have some of this rice that I have brought to share!”

“…Why did you break down the door?!”

“A true Japanese man will not allow a door to prevent him from providing his bretheren with necessary nutrients!”

“He would if the intended was getting out of the shower!” And Yamato really did deserve that bottle of shampoo to the face.

 “Oh! Your aim has improved! But I’m finding the current state of your body very concerning.” And-wait- what?!

“YAMATO, GET YOUR GIANT HANDS OFF ME WHILE I’M NAKED!”

“Oh, this is not good at all,” Yamato observes, completely ignoring Jyugo’s death threats, “No self-respecting Japanese man’s ribs should be this visible! And this skin on your wrist is so thin that I worry a simple touch will leave bruises! And the shape of your spine should be hidden by healthy layers of skin! This simply will not do, No. 15-kun, not at all; a young Japanese boy who is transitioning into manhood should not subject their body to such extreme cases of poor health! You may stunt your growth!”

“Yamato, I will do wherever you want, JUST LET GO!”

“Then we are off to enjoy our rice! HAHAHA!” And he runs off with Jyugo hoisted over his shoulder.

“I MEANT AFTER I PUT CLOTHES ON!”

And that is how Jyugo ended up in the guard’s office pissed off, dripping wet, with only a towel to preserve his modesty eating a bowl of rice next to Yamato.

“…I will piss on your headband one day.”

“No talking until that bowl is licked clean!” Yamato replies with a laugh, ruffling Jyugo’s wet hair.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The day he cracked and managed to get past Uno, Hajime caught him and decided not to whack him due to some doctor’s note (that the old man never mentioned writing) about his condition.

When they’re walking back while Hajime tries to lecture him, Kuu comes by with a calorie bar in his mouth. “Mrrrow.”

“Huh? Where’d you get that Kuu?”

He ignores him and begins pushing his face onto Jyugo’s leg, the wrapper scraping against his leg lightly.

“Are you…trying to give that to me?”

“Just take it already, 15.”

He’s touched, but he’s kind of tired of being everyone else’s snack disposal and is about to say “No,” when, apparently because he’s psychic now, Hajime tells him, “If Kuu’s gonna spend his hard-earned money on you, you’re going to appreciate it, inmate.”

…Well, he never thought he’d be simultaneously threatened and guilt-tripped, but here we are.

So he grabs the bar, scratches behind Kuu’s ear in thanks, unwraps it and starts chewing.

“Wait…when did Kuu start getting paid? I thought he wasn’t an actual employee.”

“Shut it.”

“And how’d he operate the vending machine?”

“That doctor’s note is looking less and less official every time you open that big mouth of yours.”

Weird. Well, some things you’ll just never know.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

So, yeah: Uno’s contribution is completely unnecessary and unwanted.

“I know you’re not onboard with all this, but it’s for your own good.”

“Suuuure.”

“You think we like giving up our snacks in the hopes of one kilogram making it onto your bony tush?”

“I know, it’s just…”

“Less talking, more digesting.”

So they keep that up for a while.

“…Does Rock hate me?”

And Uno sighs, like he’s been expecting Jyugo to ask this, “Rock doesn’t hate you, you just scared him a little. You scared all of us. And, being the hot-blooded bonehead he is, this is the only way he knows how to deal with something like that.”

“But…”

“Look, if you want to make up with him, stop eating at the lunch table with your head down, and talk to him. He’s probably just not sure how to bring it up.”

And Uno’s actually decent advice strikes again, but he can’t know that, he’s already full of himself enough, so…

“Wait…is this the full-fat stuff?”

“The doctor recommended it, shut up.”

“But you’re eating it too.”

“Shut up.”

“Aren’t you on a diet?”

“IF MY SEXY BODY IS LOST TO STRESS EATING, THAT’S ON YOU!”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

It’s a regular day in the cafeteria, but…

Rock doesn’t even look remotely happy. It’s honestly kinda scary.

But…sometimes you have to be the one who crosses the bridge.

“Rock…I’m sorry I worried all of you.”

“…So?” Rock says, not even looking up from his lunch.

“Huh?” Oh, boy this is NOT gonna be pretty.

Finally making eye contact, Rock starts, “‘Sorry,’ isn’t going to give back the two hours we spent waiting for you to wake up. ‘Sorry,’ isn’t going to put back the weight you lost. And, ‘Sorry,’ isn’t going to replace all the meals you didn’t eat because I wasn’t paying enough attention to how crappy you were feeling.”

“No, Rock, this isn’t on you-”

“YOU’RE MORE OF AN IDIOT THAN WE THOUGHT IF YOU THINK YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE THAT MESSED UP!” And Rock’s finally done trying to keep calm, hands slamming on the table, “We know you’re not okay a lot of the time, so we need to keep an eye on you so you don't do stuff like that to yourself. Should have been easy, but nooo, you’re a perceptive little brat who knew I wouldn’t be paying attention to you skipping out on your food, if I could stuff my own face.”

“Rock…I-”

“Just-just why? Why would you do that to yourself, kid?”

He never thought he’d see Rock sad in a place with food.

“I…I just…I don’t know, okay?! I didn’t want to eat, so I didn’t, I thought I’d get over it, but it got worse. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to get out of bed…I don’t know, my freakin’ head’s a nightmare! I just…I just want you to be happy.”

“…Okay.”

“Huh?” Prior experience has shown that people don’t usually just leave it at that.

“If you don’t know, you don’t know. Simple as that.”

And his hand’s on Jyugo’s head, and Rock’s smiling for the first time since he passed out.

“We’ll figure it out, just don’t do anymore crazy crap like that again, okay kiddo?”

And just like that, the anxiety ebbs away.

“Yeah. Yeah, okay.”

And that get’s him ruffling his hair, “Good boy.”

It’s nice in the cafeteria again, but then…

“Well, here you go.”

“Eh?” Okay, something’s wrong because WHY DID ROCK JUST PUSH HIS FULL PLATE TO ME?

“You finish that up, okay? I’m gonna grab another!” And he’s up with a spring in his step back to the food line.

…He’s not serious, right? Two full plates is already crazy, but this one has Rock-proportions on it!

Yeah, this is probably just a joke. Any minute now Rock’s gonna come back and…

Then he notices Shiro standing behind him.

And he knows this is not a joke.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“Owwwww…” Just gonna lie down and wait for the sweet release of death.

“Come on, you little scarecrow, your first food baby isn’t that bad!” Shut up, you gluttonous sadist.

“I’m surprised you managed to feed him that much without him adding an extra layer of puke to the walls, Rock.” I wish I was going to puke, Uno, I really do, I want to puke all over your stupid face.

“I’m pretty well-versed in the subject of stomach capacities.”

“Wow, Jyugo-kun’s tummy’s all swollen like L***y’s!” Yes, and it’s not fun, Nico.

“Alright you two, let’s help him out.” What are they gonna do, wait why is there a hand on his stoma-ohhhh, that feels better.

“Gotta go in nice, slow circles.” Thank you, Rock.

“Don’t worry, you wimp, you’ll get used to it.”

“…huh?” Uno, what are you talking about?

“Eating bigger meals is the best way to gain weight, Jyugo-kun!”

“I…I only lost a few kilograms-”

A chuckle escapes Uno’s mouth, “Oh, Jyugo…did you honestly think after that little scare we were only going to get you to back to slightly higher underweight? That we weren’t going to get you to an average and healthy weight for a kid your age?”

“Someone kill me.”

“Nah, we’ll just let you go into your food coma,” Rock rejects still rubbing circles into his abused stomach until he falls asleep.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

“Congratulations, 15; you managed to gain half a kilogram.”

“…I hate my metabolism.”