This story isn't finished; but I've been working on it for two weeks, dammit!
Edit 9/19/06: I am so stupid. I put in numbers for footnotes, but never put the actual NOTES down. :headdesk: Thanks Samurai101!
And I say way-hey-hey, it's just an ordinary day
And it's all your state of mind
At the end of the day, you've still got to say,
"It's all right."
"Ordinary Day" -- Great Big Sea
It's normal for Togusa's alarm clock to go off at five, normal for him to switch it off quickly so that Meijiro isn't woken by it. (She always is, actually, but he doesn't know that.) It's normal for him to slip out of bed as quietly as he can and shower in the dark. This, on average, takes half-an-hour because it takes such a long time for the hot water to jerk him out of his sleep-laced stupor.
After his shower, Togusa creeps back into the bedroom, (his eyesight in the dark is uncannily sharp) and gets dressed in his leathers. Then he looks at his wife and experiences a brief flash of guilt because he is leaving her to deal with two hyperactive children at ungodly hours of the morning, thinking nothing of his own schedule. Then, heaving a despairing sigh, he goes and makes himself breakfast in the kitchen: something simple. Toast, more often than not. Maybe he adds some cheese to it. Drinks water. A very Western, very American-style breakfast; if Batou knew, he would die from shame.
But it's always something simple, nothing fancy. Togusa hates pretentiousness, in himself and others.
Once he finishes his breakfast and washes his dishes, it's six o' clock, and he makes his daughter's lunch for school that day.
He feels that it's the least he can do; and he knows that Mei is grateful for even one less burden.
So he makes Shiori's lunch, puts it into her crimson bento box, and then places that into the refrigerator so that it can chill and keep fresh. And then he grabs the keys to his bike, hefts the brown messenger bag holding his street clothes and leaves to maneuver through the morning traffic jams.
And that is how Nobuyoshi Togusa begins his day.
Togusa didn't know he was sick when he woke up that morning.
True, he had a headache and his stomach kept on pointedly insisting that at some point in the night he had swallowed a lint-covered candle that had also been dipped in castor oil, but the truth was he felt like that plenty of mornings, so he shrugged it off.
That was his first mistake.
As the hot water pounded his back from the shower-head, his headache did not disappear. Once again however, this had happened enough times that he didn't pay much attention.
Mistake number two.
It was when he was pulling on his pants that he experienced the first wave of dizziness. It was a light spell, compared to what he was used to. Nonetheless, he let out a startled gasp and had to grab the edge of the dresser to steady himself.
Not feeling as certain of himself as he had before, Togusa ran a hand through his hair. Dizziness in the morning usually came after sitting up, and only because he had done it too quickly and forced all the blood to fall from his head.
He probably would have pondered the matter further if Meijiro hadn't shifted in the bed to his left. His desire not to wake his wife, coupled with his hunger, drove the incident from his mind. Mistake the Third.
But the matter came up again as he walked to his bike. His helmet hanging precariously from his first three fingers, he swiftly straddled the motorcycle, and zipped up his jacket. Then he paused.
Breakfast had helped his stomach but he couldn't help feeling slightly nauseous. Was he sick?
Recalling his earlier dizzy spell, he experimentally shook his head from side to side.
No reaction. Hmm.
He shrugged. Even if he was ill, it couldn't be too bad. He'd worked through sickness before and he wasn't the worse for it.
...Although he had to admit, that time with the 104-degree fever had been a mistake.
With a yawn, he checked to make sure the seat compartment was secure, pulled on his helmet, and turned on the ignition.
The drive to work had been nothing if not eventful.
Either he really was out of sorts (as well as completely out of it) or all the idiots of the world had decided to congregate on the freeway that day. Togusa had nearly been hit six times, and he was still trembling a little from his last encounter -- a renegade eighteen-wheeler.
To top it off, his headache had gotten worse, and the lint-covered candle in his stomach had transformed into something he'd much rather not try to describe. The pressure on his sinuses was also incredible.
Suck it up, he told himself crossly as he pulled on his blue jacket. Stop being such a brat. You've gone through worse.
Not very much, the sulky corner of his mind replied.
Out in the hall, he leaned his back against the wall and stared at the floor, frowning. Just what it was he was thinking about he didn't really know for sure, except it was very important and he had to figure it out but he couldn't really figure it out if he didn't know what it was and if he didn't know what it was then he couldn't figure out it out and...
"What are you doing?" he asked irritably.
Batou dropped the various locks of Togusa's hair that he had been playing with. "Waiting to see how long it took until you noticed. Five minutes, too."
"It's nice to know that you're timing."
"It's that inner clock." Batou studied him, frowning. "You okay? You're looking a bit grey."
Togusa was about to reassure his friend that he was fine when he suddenly felt an urge to share what had happened to him that morning. "I almost got hit by an eighteen-wheeler on my way here."
"I've been telling you and telling you that thing is a deathtrap," Batou insisted. "Now will you get rid of it?"
The detective grinned. "No way. Besides, it's not like it hasn't happened to me before."
The two continued to argue as they went to join the rest of the team, and Togusa forgot all about his illness.
Unfortunately, it did not forget about him. Togusa did in fact have a fever (thought it would be a while before he realized this fact.); it went up and down as the day progressed, leaving him groggy and ill-tempered by turns.
It was around five in the afternoon that things finally came to a head.
The florescent lighting was giving him a headache, so Togusa had retreated into his workroom and turned off all the lights. Sitting at the desk, he could feel a strange rolling sensation underneath his eyeballs and had the feeling that it wouldn't be a very good idea to stand up right then. I'm not well, he realized belatedly.
The transmission caught him by surprise but the only physical sign he gave was a vague blink.
She continued, sounding slightly exasperated. "Togusa, you said you were going to complete your combat examination today."
"Yes, you did. C'mon, you have to get down here."
Togusa groaned softly and put his head in his hands. He couldn't even drag himself out of this chair, for God's sake. How was he supposed to pass a combat exam?
With a thunk the detective let his forehead drop a short distance to the desktop. He shivered. Was it just him, or had the temperature suddenly dropped?
This notice only made things worse for him. As Togusa pulled his jacket more tightly around himself, he became even colder. Soon, his teeth were chattering madly as the temperature around him seemed to fall into sub-zero levels.
And something even odder was happening. His mouth had gone completely dry. Not a spot of saliva to be found.
Dehydrated, he thought faintly. And cold. He was so cold, oh God...
Togusa slipped out of the chair and hit the ground, hard. Twitching, teeth chattering, he curled himself up into a fetal ball. He needed water. Desperately.
He tried to brace himself to get up and get a cup of the liquid. His legs refused to obey his command.
He imagined getting a drink of water. He imagined downing aspirin for the fever he now knew he had. He imagined wrapping himself in a heavy blanket, and finally banishing his chill.
Togusa imagined doing a lot of things to care for himself, but in reality did nothing. His body wouldn't stretch itself out, no matter how cruelly he threatened it.
And at some point during his mental ramblings, he fell asleep.
Batou found him like that an hour later.
Worried, the cyborg shook the natural man's shoulder. "Togusa? Buddy?"
Batou checked his pulse; fine. Bit sluggish, but still steady. What was the matter with him?
Sweat had soaked into Togusa's clothing and hair, and his pores didn't seem to understand that enough was enough. His body, still locked in a tight ball, shook uncontrollably.
Frowning, Batou slapped his friend's cheek gently. "Togusa. Hey, Togusa, wake up!"
Togusa made a noise extraordinarily similar to a whimper.
But no matter how much Batou poked and prodded, he couldn't get Togusa to wake or uncurl. He felt Togusa's sweaty cheek. He couldn't get an exact temperature, but he could tell that Togusa's was far above the norm.
"Crap," Batou muttered. "Major, I think we've got a problem."
"You didn't find Togusa?"
"I found him, alright. But he's completely out of it; he's got a fever and he's shaking all over. I can't wake him up."
She was silent briefly. Then she said, "Should we take him to the hospital?"
"He wouldn't thank us for it. You know how much he hates those places."
This was true. The only reason Togusa hadn't tried to escape when he had been injured at the Sunflower Society was because he had been completely zonked on morphine.
Batou's inner-debating was put to an end when Togusa called his name faintly.
"Geez," he said, bending over the detective. "There are better ways to get attention you know."
Togusa's teeth were chattering. "Cold," he muttered.
"Can't imagine why, your temperature has sky-rocketed." Batou shook his legs gently. "C'mon, you've gotta open up. I can't carry you like this."
If Togusa had been planning on saying anything else it was lost to his spasms. Batou sighed and managed to peel the man's arms apart. Hooking the limbs around his neck, he was also able to worm an arm between Togusa's calves and thighs. Lifting the man's light-as-air self, Batou was struck as Togusa buried his face into the cyborg's neck.
He really is sick.
Because Togusa very rarely initiated physical contact.