A wound that aches yet isn’t felt Nov 28, 2020
Touya guided Yukito to his motorcycle in silence, cradling his slight frame in his arms. Yukito was limping noticeably, his arm draped over Touya’s shoulders, and Touya wasn’t sure he would have been able to make the walk without his help.
He’d almost left the motorcycle at home, thinking it’d be nice to walk in the crisp December night. In the end he’d decided to take it, along with both helmets. He’d planned to give Yukito a ride home after the contest. He hadn’t anticipated these circumstances.
“Are you sure she’s okay?” He asked, as Sakura’s voice reached them from where she was telling her friends how she and Yukito had fallen off a cliff in Penguin Park.
“I think so. She doesn’t even appear to have any scrapes, she’s mostly embarrassed.”
Touya nodded; he’d initially been worried about them both, but Sakura had been well enough to bring Yukito back from the park, and he hadn’t sensed any injury. He knew Tomoyo wouldn’t let her walk home after this. She’d be fine.
They had reached his motorcycle by then, and he handed over the spare helmet. It was silvery with a slightly mauve tint, and he’d picked it out specifically thinking of Yukito, when he’d bought the bike.
“How do you feel? Don’t say you’re fine, I know you’re not. I just want to figure out whether we need to go to the emergency room.”
Yukito smiled at him, his eyes crinkling until they nearly closed. “Okay then, my right leg hurts a lot, especially when I put weight on it, but I don’t think we need to go that far. I’m pretty sure it’s mostly cuts and scrapes. If it’s not better tomorrow, I promise I’ll go to the doctor, To-ya.”
Touya pursed his lips dubiously and knelt briefly to examine Yukito’s leg through the torn leg of his pants. The full moon and street lights gave just enough light for him to see that it didn’t appear to be bleeding anymore, although it made him wince just to look at.
“Okay, I believe you,” he said as he stood up. “I’m taking you home with me, though. If tomorrow it seems like you need it, dad can drive us to the hospital.”
“That’s not really necessary, To-ya…” Yukito protested.
“Yes, it absolutely is necessary, Yuki!” Touya didn’t understand why he had to be stubborn about things like this, always trying not to be “a bother”, as if Touya could ever consider him that. “I’m not leaving you alone after that fall.”
Touya had stopped bothering to pretend to ask if Yukito’s grandparents were home from their travels long ago. He’d known from the first time he set foot in Yuki’s house, eleven months ago, that there were no grandparents. He’d also figured out that same afternoon that Yukito himself didn’t actually realize the truth. Yukito would bring up his grandparents when prompted by conversation, but since Touya had stopped mentioning them, Yukito had as well. It was as if they started to slip from his mind unless the excuse made it necessary for him to remember.
Not that any of that mattered right now. He just wanted Yukito home safe so he could check for himself how badly he was injured.
Touya helped Yukito onto his motorcycle, then proceeded to button up his friend’s coat while Yukito strapped on the helmet, laughing as he protested that Touya was exaggerating, he could manage his own buttons. Touya just gave him a look and finished what he was doing, before climbing on the bike himself and putting his helmet on. He felt Yukito’s arms wrap tightly around him, felt his body press against his back and closed his eyes for a moment.
“Ready?” He asked, and if his voice was a little shaky, neither he nor Yukito acknowledged it.
Fujitaka made a fuss over Yukito, of course.
Touya waved his father off, “We can manage, dad. Sakura should be home soon, Tomoyo’s bringing her home. She’s fine.”
All the same, they paused at the foot of the stairs.
“Can you make it up?” Touya was dubious. Yukito had been leaning hard on him, barely putting weight on his right leg at all. Touya suspected that he’d resisted really letting Sakura take much of his weight when they’d made their way back, and was paying the price now.
“Sure,” Yukito said, smiling that gorgeous, sunny smile of his. Touya was unconvinced, but he shifted his arm around Yukito’s waist to give him more support. Even putting most of his weight on Touya, Yukito’s leg buckled and he cried out involuntarily as soon as he attempted the first step.
“Okay, this is ridiculous,” Touya muttered. Before Yukito could have time to protest, he hooked an arm under Yukito’s knees and swept him up in his arms.
Yukito’s arm tightened around his shoulders, his other hand coming up to grasp at the front of Touya’s jacket for support. “To-ya! You don’t need to—“
“Please just shut up and let me take care of you, Yuki,” Touya interrupted him in a deceptively low voice as his arms tightened around Yukito.
Yukito stared at him a moment, mouth adorably agape, before nodding. Touya tried not to dwell on Yukito’s flushed cheeks, wide eyes or the warmth of his arm across his shoulders as he made his way gingerly up the stairs. It would be just the thing if he were to fall now.
He didn’t bother putting Yukito down when he reached the second floor, simply carried him right to the bathroom.
He finally set Yukito down with a terse “Wait here” before leaving the bathroom in search of a stool for Yuki to sit on. He shrugged off his jacket and grabbed a spare washcloth on the way back.
Yukito was sitting on the closed toilet when Touya got back, peering down at his leg critically.
“I think the fabric has stuck to it” he looked up at Touya, his tone as calm as if he was commenting on the weather.
“Probably, we’ll rinse it with water to loosen the fabric. Get your pants off as far as you can first.” he said, putting the stool down inside the shower and turning to wash his hands in the sink, coincidentally avoiding having to watch Yukito follow his instructions.
When he turned around, Yukito had managed to shimmy his pants around his thighs and was carefully pulling his uninjured leg out. His fuzzy magenta sweater fell over his hips and Touya could just make out the edges of boxer briefs in a slightly darker shade below.
“All right,” he said, carefully keeping his voice neutral, and thanking whatever gods existed that Yukito’s sweater was as long as it was. “Into the shower, it’ll be easier to clean.”
Yukito’s arm went around his shoulders again as he put an arm around his friend’s waist to help him up and onto the stool in the shower. He unhooked the shower head, and let the water run on his hand until it was lukewarm.
“Ready?” Yukito nodded in reply, and Touya knelt and proceeded to methodically soak Yukito’s pant leg, carefully tugging as the fabric came loose from the dried blood and the wound. Eventually he was able to tug the pants completely off, glancing up briefly to make sure he wasn’t hurting Yukito.
Yukito was biting his lower lip, his brow slightly furrowed and his cheeks warm, but seemed fine otherwise.
Touya then washed the wound with the wet, soapy washcloth, wiping away dried blood and dirt. It was slightly swollen and a little warm to the touch, and Yukito’s breath hitched despite Touya’s careful, light touch. The wound had started to bleed a little again.
“Sorry, I need to get everything off,” he tried to make his voice as soothing as possible. “You have a nasty cut, but it’s not too deep, we won’t need stitches or anything.”
He felt Yukito’s hand in his hair then, and looked up in in surprise.
“Thank you, To-ya,” Yukito murmured, his fingers gliding through Touya’s hair and down to his cheek, where they stayed, his fingertips feather-light points of contact that nevertheless made Touya’s skin feel like fire.
He reached up and covered Yukito’s hand with his, curling his fingers around Yukito’s. He squeezed the slender fingers lightly before tugging the hand away and looking back down to proceed with his task.
Once he was done, Touya gently patted Yukito’s leg dry, and applied a thin layer of petroleum jelly over the wound, holding Yukito still with one hand behind his calf. He didn’t trust himself to look up but he could see Yukito’s hands gripping the side of the stool tightly.
“Am I hurting you, Yuki?” He asked, as gently as he could, rubbing small, soothing circles into Yukito’s calf with his thumb.
“No, you’re not,” Yukito replied, his voice barely above a whisper. Touya wasn’t sure whether he believed that.
“I’m almost done,” he said. He withdrew the hand he’d been using to smooth the jelly over Yukito’s skin, but didn’t immediately let go of the back of his leg. The entire situation was utterly awkward, Yukito sitting on a stool in his cramped bathroom in a fuzzy magenta sweater and underwear, while Touya knelt before him, the knees of his jeans slowly soaking through. It was also, he thought, utterly inappropriate to feel like his body was charged with unreleased tension from touching Yukito’s bare and wounded leg.
He cleared his throat as he made himself let go and reach over for the sterilized bandages he’d set out. He wrapped Yukito’s wound as gently as he could, then pushed to his feet.
“There. All done.”
“Your pants are wet,” Yukito said softly, not looking up, his silvery blonde hair obscuring his eyes from Touya’s.
“And yours are ruined. It doesn’t matter. Come on,” he held out a hand to Yukito, who immediately took it. Touya leaned forward and wrapped his other arm around Yukito’s waist to help him up.
Sakura was waiting outside the bathroom door, bouncing anxiously on her heels.
“Yukito, are you okay? My dad told me Touya brought you home and was taking care of you, but you were locked in the bathroom,” she babbled, glaring at Touya briefly like he’d purposely hidden Yukito from her.
“I’m fine, Sakura,” Yukito replied, smiling reassuringly. “Your brother is a very skilled nurse. I highly recommend his services.”
Touya could only roll his eyes at that. He always felt like Yukito was teasing him when he said things like that, in that tone.
“Get us something to eat, will you, monster? I don’t want Yuki trying to go downstairs because he’s hungry. And some ice too.”
It was a mark of how distressed Sakura was that she nodded and went without a word of protest at being called “monster”.
“Poor Sakura,” Yukito said as they went into Touya’s room. “She’s blaming herself.”
Touya declined to mention that it was, technically, her fault. He would have done exactly what Yukito did, and he felt simultaneously grateful that he’d tried to protect his sister and irrationally guilty that Yukito had gotten hurt because he hadn’t been there to protect Sakura himself.
He deposited Yukito down on his bed and used a pillow to prop up his leg.
“There, you’re not getting up again unless it’s absolutely necessary. You’re sleeping on there too,” he informed Yukito, willing his voice to convey that he would take no arguments on that point.
It didn’t work.
“I can’t take your bed!” Yukito protested. “The futon has always been fine—“
“No. I’ll sleep on the futon.”
“Would you just stop arguing with me, Yuki?” He sank down to sit on the edge of the bed, facing Yukito, and reached out without thinking to brush his fingers over Yukito’s cheek. “I was really worried. Just let me take care of you. Please.”
Yukito met his gaze, not saying anything, and Touya felt his pulse racing. He was sure his friend could feel it too. Finally Yukito sighed and sank bank on the pillows, a mischievous smile tugging at his lips.
“If you want to take care of me, you could find me pants to wear, you know.”
“Right, sorry!” Touya get up and rummaged through his closet, before coming up with sweatpants and a t-shirt from his last year of middle school.
By the time Sakura brought them a tray with dinner, Yukito had changed into Touya’s old clothes, muttering good-naturedly about Touya being “too big” because they hung loosely on his slender frame.
Sakura came into the room, asking Yukito how he felt and if his leg hurt a lot, while making lost puppy dog eyes at him until Touya bustled her out of the room, telling her Yukito needed to rest and she certainly wasn’t letting him do that.
“Touya, stop being mean to her,” Yukito said, digging into the curry Sakura had brought.
“She deserves it, falling off a cliff like that and taking you with her,” Touya muttered gruffly. He knew perfectly well that Yukito knew just how much he cared about his little sister, but he didn’t have to actually acknowledge the fact.
“Didn’t you recently fall off a cliff just like that recently?” Yukito gave him a quizzical, amused look.
“Shut up and eat. There were extenuating circumstances. You know that.”
After they’d eaten, Touya took down the dishes and brought up the futon, and they sat side by side on his bed talking about the day’s other event. Touya held a new ice pack to Yukito’s leg while he laughed at Touya’s recollection of the girl from Hong Kong spending the entire day trying to solve the puzzle at Touya’s station, and then telling him about his own adventures with Sakura before the fateful mishap. It became increasingly obvious to Touya, however, that despite Yukito’s apparent high spirits he was exhausted, and still in some pain.
“You should go to sleep, Yuki,” he nudged Yukito gently with his shoulder. “I’ll read for a bit.”
Yukito nodded, then paused before going on, his voice deceptively light “You can sit here with me and read while I fall asleep,” he said finally, his voice pitched low.
Touya felt his heart skip a beat at the warmth in Yukito’s voice. He chose not to point out that the futon was right there, within arms’ reach. “Fine. But get under the covers.”
And Yukito did, while Touya got up, stretched and got a the book he was reading from his desk. Yukito had slid to the far side of Touya’s bed, against the wall, leaving room for him.
Touya sat on top of the covers, stretching his legs and leaning back with a pillow propped up against the headboard. As soon as he settled, Yukito shifted closer, laying his head in Touya’s stomach.
Touya looked down, lifting an eyebrow in a silent question.
“You can still read,” Yukito said, laughing. “And you’re a very comfortable pillow.”
That, Touya thought, was a blatant lie. Yukito, Touya decided, not for the first time, would be the death of him.
“Fine,” he said gruffly. He opened his book his book one-handed, and let his other hand drift to Yukito’s head, stroking his hair idly.
Touya woke up with a start as the book fell from his outstretched hand to the floor. He winced. He’d slid down the bed, but his head was still propped up against the headboard, forcing his neck into an awkward position.
And Yukito was still using him as a pillow.
He glanced with distaste at the rolled-up futon. He knew he should have set it up earlier, but he’d gotten too caught in Yukito to actually do it. Holding his breath, Touya gingerly slid a hand under Yukito’s head, supporting it as he slid out from under him so as not wake him. The hardwood floor felt uncomfortably cold against his bare feet. Just then, he felt the bed shift behind him.
“To-ya?” Yukito murmured, propping himself up on an elbow and blinking blearily at him.
“I’m just going to bed, Yuki,” he whispered, pushing himself to his feet.
Yukito glanced back at the alarm clock behind the bed. “It’s 2 am, To-ya, just stay here.” He pulled back the covers beside him, on the side of the bed Touya had been dozing on.
Touya ran a hand sleepily over his face. The temperature had dropped, and he had absolutely no desire to get into a cold futon when his own bed was warm and Yukito so inviting.
And so, Touya got back in his bed.
Yukito drew the covers over him, and sighed as he settled in to rest his head against Touya’s shoulder. Touya smiled and curled his arm around Yukito, caressing his arm just below the sleeve as he closed his eyes.
Title comes from a poem by Luís Vaz de Camões:
"Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver,
é ferida que dói, e não se sente"
"Love is a fire that burns unseen,
A wound that aches yet isn't felt"
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