Just a little something I wrote while feeling stressed out. Completely unedited, any mistakes are mine.


After the noise and excitement of the nationals, the crowd, their team, the hospital felt eerily quiet to Kaidoh. He hadn't ever thought of a hospital being quiet before, but all he could hear was the ticking of the clock above the door, the faint noises of the traffic below, and the sound of his own breathing. Inui was lying in the bed, still unconscious as far as Kaidoh could tell. Despite the silent room he couldn't hear the sound of his doubles partner's breath, too muffled by the bandages around his head. Part of him thought the treatment was more than a little excessive, but on the other hand he'd seen how bad the wounds were. He'd seen the blood.

Kaidoh looked down at his hands, breath catching in his throat. His skin was no longer flushed in anger, his senpai's blood long washed off his wrist. But just because the evidence was gone didn't mean that nothing had happened. He took another deep breath, looking out the window for a long moment before glancing back at the bed. Inui was going to be fine.

The silence was getting to him. He could see the rise and fall of Inui's chest but he still felt like an anxious wreck. Checking around him for god knows what reason Kaidoh moved his chair even closer to the hospital bed. Even so, he still couldn't hear Inui's breathing. Hesitating for a second or two, for a time that also felt like an eternity, Kaidoh reached forward, gently pulling back the sleeve of the dressing gown Inui had been fitted in.

Inui's breath hitched and Kaidoh froze, fingers still wrapped around the thin fabric. What could he possibly say about this situation if his senapi chose that moment to open his eyes? His worry was for nothing though, because almost as soon as he'd started to worry Inui's breathing evened out again. He wasn't awake just yet. Kaidoh let his own breath escape his chest, shaking his head more at himself than anything else. But he didn't draw away, instead pulling the sleeve back as far as he dared.

While not as extensive as the ones over his face there were still plenty of bandages around Inui's arm and hand. Kaidoh's fingers traced over the seam of one, finding a place that was loose enough for him to slip a finger under. Pausing briefly Kaidoh pushed his thumb under, slowly moving the pad against the skin of Inui's wrist. He bit his lip in concentration, trying to find a pulse. Finally, he found it, a soft thump thump thump against his thumb. Kaidoh breathed a sigh of relief, somehow calmer now that he'd located it.

"That's improper technique, you know."

Kaidoh pulled away as if burned. It was amazing he didn't tear the bandage in the process. Inui was awake, looking at him with blurry and unfocused eyes. But even under the bandages Kaidoh could tell he was smiling. While he was having his mini panic attack Inui looked around, as if searching for something. Kaidoh hurried to his feet, reaching for the glasses on the side table and offering them to his bed-ridden teammate, "Here, senpai."

Inui lifted both hands, taking a putting his glasses on with one but holding to Kaidoh's wrist with the other, "Finding a pulse with your thumb," Inui continued as if Kaidoh hadn't been feeling up his arm while he slept, "can lead to inaccurate readings because, unlike your other fingers there's a major artery running through it. So while there is a greater area with which to find the pulse you may be picking up your own by mistake."

"I-Inui-senpai, I'm so-"

"Actually, many people have difficulty finding the pulse on the wrist," Inui still had a fim grasp around his arm. Kaidoh could feel the bandages that wrapped around his fingers, "Most find it much easier to locate on the neck."

Kaidoh licked his lips again and swallowed, throat dry, "I... Inui-senpai..."

"Here, I'll help you."

Inui pulled his hand forward, guiding his fingers to the wrappings on his neck. Kaidoh had to lean forward in order to even reach.

Thump, thump, thump.

Inui's pulse was even stronger beneath the two fingers of his right hand. It beat, steady and regular like the clock on the wall. Kaidoh was close enough now that he could hear Inui's breathing.

Thump, thump, thump. In, out. In, out.

Behind the bandages Inui smiled, fingers ghosting over the back of Kaidoh's hand, "Better data, isn't it?"

Kaidoh nodded, closing his eyes. Inui had an uncanny way of figuring him out anyway. He could figure it out.

Kaidoh jumped for a second time when he felt a touch at his own neck. His eyes flew open to find Inui's hand hovering by his face. The moment was silent and still until he nodded again, Inui's hand coming to rest and then searching. The tip of his pointer finger stopped just under Kaidoh's chin.

Thump, thump, thump.

"Its nice to know that you're here too, Kaidoh," Inui said softly. Kaidoh could only agree.