Well, I've finally decided to do something for this small fandom, and hopefully spread the love of Toshokan Sensou. It and fanfiction go well together, dammit!
By – Hime no Ichigo
Pairings: Doujou x Kasahara, minor Tezuka x Shibasaki
Story Type: One-shot
Summary: Komaki was laughing, Tezuka was patting his back awkwardly, and he felt embarrassed and satisfied all at once.
Disclaimer: Toshokan Sensou is the property of Arikawa Hiro/Production I.G.
Spoilers: None, although a portion of the idea was spawned by the OVA.
Warnings/Notes: Tezuka's name in kanji romanized would be literally te-tsu-ka, but I've also seen Tedzuka; I'm sticking with Tezuka since it's easiest, in a sense. Also, kyoukan is the equivalent of 'instructor'.
He thought it was a bit strange when he saw Shibasaki alone in the breakfast queue, but he didn't dwell on that; they weren't joined at the hips. But when the morning had come and gone with no sign of her, he made an effort to find the raven-haired young woman in the crowded cafeteria during lunch. He found her sitting across from Tezuka.
"Doujou-kyoukan." They both greeted him. He noticed their trays were half-finished.
"I hope I'm not interrupting anything." He might be their superior officer, but he still had manners.
"Not at all," Shibasaki responded brightly. She gestured to the seat next to Tezuka. "Would you like to sit down and eat with us?"
The small frown on Tezuka's face didn't escape Doujou's observations. "Maybe another time," he nodded. His mind was struggling to form his next words.
"Doujou-kyoukan, did you want to ask about something?"
Shibasaki was always a perceptive individual.
"Actually, yes. Do you know why Kasahara didn't show up today?"
She slapped her forehead. "I forgot! I was supposed to hand in the sick-leave form for her this morning."
It wasn't like her to forget – but then, maybe she was too preoccupied with a certain someone? Doujou was amused, though not entirely surprised, by this train of thought. "It's all right, I'll take care of it now that you've told me."
"Thank you so much, Doujou-kyoukan." Her smile was brilliant.
He nodded again and left. He thought he detected a trace of relief from Tezuka, if his relaxed facial expression was anything to go by.
The paperwork was done, and he had already made several (unnecessary) trips to pass time – yet it still wasn't enough to call it a day.
"Doujou, you look like you can't concentrate at all. Do you want some coffee?"
He smiled but shook his head to decline the offer. "Thanks, but I don't think coffee will help."
"Chamomile tea, then?"
Doujou almost choked.
Komaki pretended to not notice his friend's discomfort and continued casually, "I heard Shibasaki-san will probably stay out late tonight."
It was creepy that Komaki might possibly have the same information network as Shibasaki. Maybe he should have applied for the Intelligence Department instead of for the Task Force – although it would be their loss. "What's that got to do with me—"
"If Kasahara-san's absence makes you fidget this much, why don't you go make sure she's doing all right?"
Why was he surrounded by people who could see through him so easily?
"I'll take care of things here. Please give her my regards," Komaki smiled disarmingly at Doujou's scowl, unperturbed by his behaviour, waving the thin stack of files in his face. You're the one who makes it so obvious and easy to guess, Komaki said silently to the stiff, retreating back, watching it disappear behind the door. Especially when it comes to Kasahara-san.
He remembered the last time he was here: he had to disguise himself in the dead of night, make his way stealthily around the campus, just to slip a notebook under a door, only to be caught by the person he had (least?) wanted to see. His plan had been totally thwarted. This time, he didn't bother with pretences; the one person who would bother attacking him was out of commission, and the rest of the occupants of the female dormitories either had plans for the evening or would rather watch him from afar (let it not be said that he was flattered).
Knock, knock; repeat.
Doujou tried to wait patiently, but with each passing silent second scenarios kept popping into his mind, each worse than the one before. His knuckles were poised to rap on the door when it was opened by an extremely burnt-out-looking Kasahara. She was yawning and rubbing her eyes and mumbling something along the lines of Shibasaki, why'd you forget your keys today of all days? Then she turned and stumbled back to her bed.
Suddenly, he realized he was of the same height as her today; perhaps it was the way she hunched over and the weariness weighing down on her. He followed her into the room and closed the door quietly behind him. Kasahara must be really sick to not throw him out the minute she saw him on the female dormitory grounds.
Even without seeing her collapse on the left bed, Doujou could instinctively tell which side belonged to whom. The desk on the right had books sorted into neat piles, while the reading materials on the left one were scattered. He wondered how Shibasaki could stand that, when she herself was so orderly.
He peeled back the yellow curtains to take in Kasahara's appearance in more details. Her eyes were closed and her face was flushed – if it wasn't for the telltale beads of perspiration and the fact that she looked like she was in pain as her body overworked to fight off the infection, he could almost decidedly say she looked cute (he shook his head to clear the thought at this point; calling Kasahara 'cute' was going a bit too far, in his opinion, although the lack of insults from her added a point to this new attribute). The blanket was doing little to help her fever as she kept tossing and turning; once Doujou even had a glimpse of smooth, fair skin, and he belatedly equated it to her stomach, as her pink and white t-shirt rode up. He quickly averted his gaze elsewhere less criminal, and willed some of the hotness in his cheeks to evaporate.
She's sick, he reminded himself, firmly, as if this explained everything.
The white towel had been forgotten by her pillow and now he knew why; its cooling effect had long been used up. He withdrew from the shadows the curtains provided and wetted the cloth with ice-cold water. Idiot, he reprimanded her with his eyes, how do you manage to take care of yourself by yourself?
He could no longer simply sit by her side, constantly reminded of what lurked under the green covers. He made his way to the kitchen area, and found nothing useful in the cupboards or in the mini-fridge. Grabbing her copy of the dormitory keys, he left the room and went to the nearest grocery store.
For the rest of the evening, he alternated between making sure the towel was cold and wet, reorganizing the contents of her desk, and forcing water down her throat. When he ran out of things to do, he stood by the glass door that led to the small balcony. The dark green uniform hung outside to air, and he felt a surge of pride well up inside him as he recalled how much Kasahara had grown (not height-wise; quite frankly she was tall enough, for a female). A cough or two would bring him out of his self-induced trance and he would scold himself for being so carried away.
Her fever broke at around one in the morning. He placed some medicine and more water on the table. He considered leaving a note, but discarded the idea almost immediately. She would probably look in the kitchen first anyway, once she had the strength to walk around.
Funnily enough, even when he left, Kasahara's roommate didn't show up.
Komaki threw an amused glance sideways to his friend, fighting off the urge to laugh. "Doujou, you look like hell. Do you want some coffee?"
"Yes please," came the muffled, disgruntled reply. "Black."
He raised an eyebrow even if Doujou had his face buried in his arms. "I thought you hate black coffee."
It was an unintelligible response, but Komaki heard 'Kasahara', 'sugar', and 'beetle', and he decided that was all he needed to know.
He found Tezuka and Shibasaki sitting together again, during lunch. This time, Komaki was with him. Like always, the cafeteria was practically full.
They both nodded, and Shibasaki extended her usual invitation to the empty seats next to them. Tezuka was managing a small smile. Doujou wondered what happened overnight to bring about this personality change.
"How's Kasahara doing?" Doujou asked offhandedly, splitting his chopsticks cleanly into halves and picking up the bowl of rice.
"Better, thank you," Shibasaki said, seemingly delighted that he brought up the topic. "She has a message for you, Doujou-kyoukan."
"She says," she cleared her throat, "'I will personally hunt down that midget once I'm feeling two-hundred-percent well for even stepping foot on the female dormitories. Next time, don't do something so stupid. But thanks anyway.' Her words, not mine," Shibasaki hastily added to prevent any misunderstandings.
Doujou choked. How did—?! Tezuka patted him awkwardly on his back, and Komaki was trying to keep his laughter down behind his hand. He berated himself for being so concerned about her yesterday – look at the thanks he got! – and – why couldn't I have just left her alone?
But he knew that if he didn't see to her condition personally – goodness knew if she was lying for the second time – he couldn't have possibly slept well. It was probably for the best that he did what he did; Kasahara was now indebted to him, and, well...
Things could get interesting.
- Owari -
Authoress' Notes: Hi, see that pretty big bar below the text? Yeah, click that and tell me what you think, please? (Especially the characterizations! Doujou's a bit off, IMO...)