When a domesticated cat gets sick, its owner is responsible for taking it to the vet. ...Except Tokitoh's not a normal kitty and their local veterinarian is unlicensed. ...I'm not making a move to ...
Summary: When a domesticated cat gets sick, its owner is responsible for taking it to the vet. …Except Tokitoh’s not a normal kitty and their local veterinarian is unlicensed. …I’m not making a move to refute the “owner” bit, though. [kubotatokitoh]
Kubota felt he should’ve known something was wrong when Tokitoh didn’t push away his roaming, curious hands; however, he had simply viewed it as the opportunity of a lifetime. He had sat up and leaned over where Tokitoh was perched with slumped shoulders at the edge of the bed, and he had flattened his palms on Tokitoh’s absurdly defined ribs, and he attributed the warmth there to be a haphazard mix of Tokitoh’s normal temperature and the demure flush he assumed whenever Kubota did something like that, even when they were alone.
The guilt weighed on him heavily now (albeit admittedly not that heavily—a reluctantly aroused Tokitoh was a work of art in itself) as he sat on the edge of the sofa, eyes flickering from the Playstation to the paint drying on the ceiling. His neck was beginning to ache from having craned his head around to glance at the door so many times. Kou was in there, performing a diagnosis with his ill-gotten doctor’s goods. Kubota had called him shortly after Tokitoh, stumbling about, looking for his pants, and complaining somewhat drunkenly about post-coital headaches, was suddenly overtaken by a wave of nausea and had the good grace to vomit in the bathroom sink.
When Tokitoh vomited, Kubota’s own stomach churned.
Kubota trusted Kou implicitly—or at least enough to ask him for a favor and trust him to get it done—but the thought of another man in their bedroom—with /Tokitoh—alone/—
His gut stirred again; he was half-standing and angling towards the kitchen for a glass of water when the door glided open. And, just as suddenly, he was standing in front of Kou, who was casually pushing up his glasses with his steady fingers.
Kou unhurriedly fiddled with the clasp of his bag as Kubota shifted on his feet, impatience making his wrists quiver slightly at his sides. Still unhurriedly, Kou muttered about the quality of malpractice bags as Kubota’s hands continued to shake until he began to interpret it as the sudden urge to strangle the apothecary; he was dangerously close to enacting the homicidal fantasy that was playing out in his mind before Kou looked up.
“…What’s the temperature outside right now, Kubota-san?”
Kubota exhaled, deep, innocuously, through his nose. “Yokohama summers,” he said simply, sweeping his gaze past Kou’s shoulder to the ajar door.
“Ah,” Kou said, somewhat dryly. “It seems Tokitoh-kun has mild hyperthermia—a moderate fever.” He gazed at Kubota, a glint of amusement in his eyes. “I don’t suppose it is required of me to ask you if he has been physically exerting himself, do I?”
“You know cats,” Kubota said vaguely, still attempting quick, careful glimpses into his and Tokitoh’s room. “They exercise best when entertained.”
“Ah,” Kou said, the bridge of his nose crinkling slightly. “…His temperature is five degrees above normal. He needs rest, of course. Plenty of fluids.” He glanced at Kubota’s refrigerator. “/No alcohol/.”
Kubota smiled and tilted his head. “He doesn’t care much for the taste.”
“Easily digestible foods.”
“What about curry?”
“Depends on if the patient finds it edible.”
Kou stepped aside before Kubota could push him, revealing Tokitoh leaning on the door, joints trembling and eyes narrowed, a pale flush spread on his neck and exposed chest; from his vantage point, Kubota could count all of his ribs, heaving with the effort of breathing.
“That shit won’t cut it now, Kubo-chan!” Tokitoh half-screamed, half-crowed. “And /you—/!” He thrust an accusatory finger in Kou’s direction. “You’re unlicensed and I’m not your fucking patient!” He lifted his knee, perhaps to stomp his foot and declare his victory, but then faltered, his grip on the door slipping, his body reeling forward with his own weight; his flailing hands caught Kubota’s shoulders, his face buried in the solidity of Kubota’s abdomen, a set of forearms wrapped tightly beneath his shoulder blades.
“…Is there anything else I should know?” Kubota asked, his voice a notch deeper.
“Ah—yes,” Kou said. “Fruit juice is best. If he gets hungry, like I said, he needs easily digestible foods—soup should do it, or boiled vegetables. If you come by the store later, I could give you some antipyretics.”
He wouldn’t; they both knew. The concept of a sick Tokitoh alone in the vast, empty apartment was unsettling for both, though for entirely different, albeit attached reasons—Kou was, after all, simply worried Tokitoh would do something foolish by his lonesome.
“If he needs a bath—which he does/—” and here, Kou shot him a meaningful, mocking smile “—sponge bath. Lukewarm water. No physical exertion if you can help it—and you /can help it.” Kou glared, briefly, before it melted into his usual smile. “His glove is off, as you may have noticed. It traps heat.” He nodded towards Tokitoh’s bare, furry hand. “…Is that all?”
“How long will it last?”
“If he isn’t alright when he wakes up tomorrow—call me when you begin to feel concerned.” Kou adjusted his glasses again and sighed with a note of finality. “…Goodbye, Kubota-san. Take good care of Tokitoh-kun, hm? I never relinquish my favorite patient to just /anyone/, you know.” The smile never left the pharmacist’s face, even as he lifted his hand in a limp wave and slipped out the door, quiet as he had entered.
Kubota stared at the limp kitten in his arms.
“…Bastard just says that ‘cause I’m his only patient,” came a muffled voice. The movement of Tokitoh’s lips against the sleek, thin fabric of Kubota’s shirt prompted a familiar shiver to flit up his spine; Tokitoh caught it, and his hands flailed at the wrists. “You—you—” he spluttered, scandalized. He made a feeble attempt to lift himself, but Kubota’s arms pinned him there; it wasn’t as though he was capable of putting up much of a fight regardless.
Kubota’s arm twisted a bit so he could thread his fingers through Tokitoh’s sweat-drenched hair, fingertips grazing a damp necknape and a warm shoulder; the sunlight streamlined in through the windows, obtrusive, the cause, perhaps, of this entire ordeal. The noise outside mattered nothing; there was nothing but silence within the apartment, a quietude broken only by the sound of Tokitoh’s unsteady breath, warm huffs on his stomach that made everything feel whole and complete.
The moment ended, as moments are wont to do, but the feeling did not vanish.
It intensified as Kubota deftly but gently turned and hefted Tokitoh’s body in his arms, carrying him bridal-style into the bedroom, where he was with great ceremony disposed on the bed.
“Stay there,” Kubota instructed.
“Like I could go anywhere /anyway/,” Tokitoh snapped. There was a pause. Tokitoh’s eyes followed the movements of Kubota’s; he flushed angrily and arched off the bed indignantly. “Hey—! Cut that out, dammit!”
“Cut what out?”
“You—you’re /leering/. I said cut it /out/!”
“It’s a good view.” Kubota smirked and swept away in the direction of the bathroom.
“Crazy pervert,” Tokitoh muttered.
“Now,” came the voice, echoing faintly from the bathroom, “would you like that sponge bath before or after breakfast?”
“Pervert!” Tokitoh screamed.
Kubota’s head appeared from the door frame, a placid but nevertheless wicked smile gracing his features. “Not today. Doctor’s orders.”
Tokitoh opened his mouth to retort, but his jaw felt inexplicably leaden all of a sudden; he closed it with some degree of effort, and exhaled, tightly, mustering enough strength to fling his forearm over his eyes. The lights blared obtrusively in his field of vision; he permitted his peripherals to adjust.
“Hungry?” The soft, lilting voice was above him now. Somewhere. He couldn’t bring himself to move his arm; the lights were too bright and too hot, just like the rest of him. He felt as though he was baking slowly, as though their bedroom was simply a gigantic microwave and someone had set the timer on for all fucking day. A set of fingers like feathers grazed the knife-carved lines beneath his eyes, then vanished only to reappear on his ribs, a hand settling on his stomach.
“M—” His lips were too thick and weary; he licked them and tasted sweat on his filtrum. “Maybe.” The hand on his stomach was cool to the touch; he groped blindly for it, grasping it and moving it to the center of his chest. “Flex your fingers,” he murmured, and Kubota did. “Feels nice… …Um.” He flushed, and lifted his arm to see Kubota, whose eyes seemed searching as they immediately locked onto Tokitoh’s own, then shifted to his hand with its flexed fingers.
He propped a knee on the bed, and his palm shifted as his hand came to rest on the slope of Tokitoh’s neck. Tokitoh leaned into his touch, Kubota’s hand strikingly cool in contrast with the fluctuating burning sensation in his skin.
“Hungry?” he asked again, more softly.
“…I-I’d probably end up barfing it back up anyway,” Tokitoh muttered, turning his head and envisioning the shade of red his ears were turning painted on a car. Even the effort of craning his neck took a considerable amount of energy; once the motion had been completed, he found himself essentially boneless from the collar up.
“Okay,” Kubota said, still softly, his thumb running along the underside of Tokitoh’s jaw. His hand stilled, if briefly. “Are you sure?”
“/Yes/, I’m sure,” Tokitoh said, sniffing indignantly. “So—so just /stay/, okay? U-unless you don’t want to, that’s cool, too, it’s not like I’ll /die/—”
“Okay,” Kubota repeated.
“—so just do whatever the fuck you want, I guess, I’ll be—”
“Okay,” Kubota repeated.
“—/yeah/, okay, I’ll be—mmf!” He was effectively silenced by the press of Kubota’s lips on his lips, wet and sleek and hungry and slow, inquisitive tongue tracing and memorizing the line of his teeth as though it was an estranged territory—but that was stupid, considering Kubota had breached that particular boundary hundreds upon hundreds of times—not that he particularly enjoyed it, ew, no, but Kubota never seemed to get tired of his mouth, never ever, and—
Kubota nipped at Tokitoh’s chapped lips, slow and rough, clever tongue making a last-ditch effort to abate the dryness that latticed his mouth before drawing up and away.
Kubota smiled, pressing his thumb to Tokitoh’s warm, softened lips. “No physical exertion.” Then he withdrew his hand and spun on his heel, walking to the bathroom. “That includes talking.”
Ire abruptly surged beneath Tokitoh’s skin, the burning flush that marred his skin intensifying. “Hey—you—/bastard/!” he screamed. “Isn’t there some kind of rule against molesting patients!?”
“Oh, so you’re a patient now.”
“/My/ patient, at that.” Kubota emerged with a small pail of water clutched in his left hand and some white hand towels draped over his right forearm. “The doctor is in, so please cooperate, hm?”
“Oh god,” Tokitoh muttered, “another unlicensed bastard.”
“Would you prefer to be bathed by the other one?” Kubota said lightly, though for some absurd reason there lingered a challenge in his eyes.
“You’re fucking kidding, right? …That’s a ‘hell no,’ by the way,” Tokitoh muttered, eyes averted.
“/Talking/,” Kubota chided, rolling up his sleeves and looking at Tokitoh—a quick, careful glance—before taking a towelette and dipping it in the pail. Tokitoh hissed as the cool towelette touched his hairline, wrists jerking as though in a reflexive attempt to bat away Kubota’s wrists, but then they fell back against the mattress, an ode to the weakness he’d attempted to drown out with the sound of his voice.
“/Shit/,” Tokitoh breathed haltingly, jaw tight, bare, furry hand scrabbling for a fistful of sheets. His eyes stung slightly; the cold was piercing.
Kubota froze, his shoulders tensing, then relaxed just as quickly, lips slanted in a half-frown. He moved the towel. “It gets better,” he said quietly.
“I—” Tokitoh began, but abruptly fell silent as weariness settled low in his throat. He mustered another indignant sniffle and glowered at the ceiling.
Eventually, Kubota’s prediction came true—eventually. Once he got over the nagging sensation that he’d experienced a sensation far too similar before—like needles in his forehead—the burning sensation lessened; Kubota was slow about it, fingertips dragging not far behind the path of the towel, following the angle of Tokitoh’s jaw, the gradual junction between his neck and shoulder, the sharp indentations of his prominent ribs—soft, fleeting touches that he could’ve easily mistaken for nothing but his imagination, had his eyes not been inexorably drawn to the remotely unsteady set of Kubota’s fingers.
Kubota’s wrists withdrew; he dipped the towel in the pail and squeezed it free of excess water.
“…That good?” he said, softly, his eyes fixed on the towel he was wringing.
Tokitoh blinked and swallowed; his eyelids felt leaden. He realized he hadn’t blinked throughout the entire ordeal, and closed his eyes. “…Yeah. …I was steam-broiled like some kind of fucking lobster. …/Was/.”
“…And how do you feel now?” Kubota asked, dipping the towel again almost absently.
“…A little cooler,” Tokitoh confessed. “Not steam-broiled. Just…lightly roasted?”
Kubota looked at Tokitoh, a smile quirking the edges of his thin lips. “Good enough to eat, then?”
“What—/pervert/! Is that all you think about!?”
“If by ‘that’ you mean you, then yes,” he said lightly, draping the towelette in his hands on the rim of the pail. “Besides, I was asking you if you were hungry.”
“Do you feel good enough to eat?” Kubota reiterated. “…Are you hungry yet?”
“I—” Tokitoh spluttered, then stopped. “Well—yeah,” he confessed. “A little, I guess.” In all honesty, he’d been hungry since after he puked for the first time that morning, but when Kubota had asked earlier, he’d been weaker and his skin really did feel as though it were on fire. He reasoned it was perfectly normal to have qualms about being left alone in that sort of state; he could have cooked alive and no one would have borne witness.
Kubota abruptly stood, fiddling idly with his rolled-up sleeves. “Kou-san said soup, right?”
“Right—wait,” Tokitoh said as Kubota turned to leave. “/Wait/, I said!” he half-yelled, jackknifing into something like a sitting position, his right hand groping for Kubota’s shirttail.
And turned, slowly, to see Tokitoh half-upright, the sheets gathered at his waistline, clawed hand clutching a frayed fragment of what had been, the moment previous, a nice, if inexpensive, button-down shirt. His eyes were wide and fearful, resting upon the cloth in his fingers before ever-so-briefly flickering to Kubota, fur-lined fist curling at his heart.
Kubota blinked again.
Tokitoh faltered, pressing his palm on the sheets, teeth snagging on his lower lip.
Oh shit… Oh shit oh shit oh shit.
There was no excuse this time, no throbbing pain in his palms as an acting explanation (but just to himself); there was just his hand/, his /palm/, his /fur/, his /claws and a piece of Kubota’s torn shirt in his—claws, and—
—and Kubota, nimble fingers fumbling with shirt buttons, hovering closer suddenly, fingertips hurriedly yanking off the last button so as to toss the ruined shirt to a corner of the room before reaching to scoop up Tokitoh’s wrists and pin them over his head, fingertip twisting to stroke a fur-lined knuckle.
“Do you want me to stay?” Kubota breathed very close to his ear, warm, humid breath.
“We’ll both go hungry,” Kubota said, like a reassurance, still very close—/closer/; he was lifting the sheets and making himself at home almost immediately, having relinquished his grip on Tokitoh’s wrists but still moving quickly enough to steal a spot beneath his arm, clever arm slipping beneath Tokitoh’s shoulders, all else between the sheets a tangle of legs and limbs and the gentle press of hip against hip.
There was silence, like so many other silences they shared and just as perfect, sun streamlining in thin shafts at the high window. Tokitoh’s pulse throbbed and there was a warmth beneath his skin—a pleasant, tolerable warmth, nothing like the fever’s insistent burning, contrasting the dry coolness wrought by the sponge bath, and the perfect mirror to the warmth of Kubota’s body, snug against his.
Tokitoh squirmed. “…S’kinda getting warm. Here.” With you.
“A little. But—don’t go!”
“I wasn’t going to.” Pause. “I like it when you say that.”
“Say what? I’m not gonna say it again!”
“You shouldn’t have to.” Kubota kissed his jaw. “You shouldn’t have to say it in the first place.”