“I said no.” With a tone of finality in his voice, Nezumi pressed Shion back into his pillow and shoved the blanket over his chest in one movement. “Going out in this weather is what got you in this snotty mess to begin with.”
“I promised Inukashi I’d come over to help wash the puppies!”
“If you think Inukashi’s going to let you anywhere near those mutts like this, you’ve caught a worse cold than I thought.” Nezumi sighed as he sat down on the bed side. “And here I was thinking idiots couldn’t catch colds.”
“Hey!” Sick or not, Shion still had his limits. “We went out together last night, remember?”
“Hm-m, but unlike you, I know how to dress before I go out in the snow.”
“Cold temperatures don’t actually affect the likelihood of catching a cold, anyway,” Shion said, though he was talking to the back of Nezumi’s head now as the other had turned away from him and was checking a bag of groceries. “Previous studies have shown that viruses just occur more frequently during cold – when did you get apples?”
“This morning,” Nezumi simply said, tossing the apple from one hand into the other. It was a good apple too, without any spots or bruises. “Since someone here had to go and get himself sick, I had to do the groceries by myself.”
Shion studied him carefully as Nezumi brushed up the apple, then produced a knife and proceeded to cut the apple into pieces. He didn’t think he was being overly obvious, but Nezumi shot him a piercing glare after a couple of seconds anyway. “Are you just waiting until I cut myself in the fingers or what? You should know by now I know how to handle a knife, Shion.”
“Sorry, I… why are you cutting it up? It looks just fine, doesn’t it?”
“If you want to lose your voice completely, then by all means, continue your senseless prattling.”
Shion closed his mouth as Nezumi did have a point there; his voice was raspy and he could barely raise it to speaking volume, but he was curious. Nezumi had been more or less taking care of him since he’d woken up this morning with a sore throat, equally sore muscles and a head ache that wouldn’t shift. Nezumi’s cold hands against his forehead had quickly confirmed a fever, and after that, Nezumi had more or less forced him to stay in bed. He must have dozed off at some point if Nezumi had gone out for groceries alone, but Shion’s thoughts had been very hazy that morning so far anyway.
He didn’t like it one bit, but he didn’t regret going out last night with Nezumi either. It had snowed, the skies had been clear and the stars had been sparkling above their heads in glittering patterns Shion had learnt years ago, but hadn’t often been able to seek out.
Nezumi continued cutting up the apple in silence in the meanwhile, carving a V shape in the skin of his quarter apple with as elegant motions as ever. He shot Shion another glare, who wisely kept his silence for now. He didn’t stop looking, as he found himself frequently unable to when it came to Nezumi. Last night as well; Shion figured he was barely even noticeable in the snow himself, what with his white hair. Nezumi however stood out, his hair and whole figure contrasting with the snow that reflected the moonlight, making him almost look like some ethereal figure. Shion had had the fleeting thought he might suddenly disappear there and then, and had felt a strange relief when Nezumi had expertly dodged his final snowball and dragged him back to the underground room, as it was getting late and colder by the second.
And Nezumi was here with him now, not quite as ethereal looking but at least a lot closer. Shion was still studying him, now noticing he was carving the apples in a familiar shape. He opened his mouth to say something, but had only a fraction of a second to register what was happening before Nezumi stuffed the piece of apple in his mouth.
“Mhmm!” Shion managed to bring out, but Nezumi didn’t seem impressed.
“Thought I’d stuff your mouth before you’d embarrass the both of us with whatever you were planning to say,” he simply said, “now eat your vitamins.”
Shion murmured to himself and bit down on the piece of apple, finding it to be nice and sweet. “You made apple bunnies,” he then stated, giving the piece a closer look. His guess was correct: the triangle carvings in the skin made for the ears, and the rest of the apple piece did the job as the body. Shion raised his eyebrows at it. “Really. Apple bunnies?”
Nezumi shrugged and picked up another apple from the bag. “You started it.”
“Terrible excuses for snow bunnies if you ask me, but yes, you did. Don’t look at me like that.”
Shion bit his lip in order to suppress his smile, amused as he was that Nezumi had even taken notice of that. He had indeed made some snow bunnies last night, leaving them in the snow like little tracks that no doubt had melted into unrecognizable blobs by now.
After several quiet seconds, Shion thought it safe to talk again. “You’re taking care of me? With the vitamins and keeping me in bed, checking my temperature?”
“Don’t get any ideas. It’s a small room, and I refuse to sleep on the ground because you had to go catch a cold.”
“Oh, I see. So instead out of the goodness of your heart, you’re doing this out of self-interest so you won’t get sick too.”
“Damn right I am. Now what did I say about shutting up?” Nezumi had cut up the second apple in the mean while, and wasted not a second to push yet another part in Shion’s mouth.
Shion wisely kept any further comments to himself and ate his apple in silence, smiling broadly when one of the mice took off with another part and Nezumi visibly made an effort not to get too upset to lose his handiwork.
Maybe catching a flu wasn’t so bad after all, Shion thought to himself, feeling better by the second.