Note: Originally a challenge self-insert fic given to me on LJ. Funny it's Benkei of all people :p Enjoy.


Her whole body felt weighed down and damp, as a dull, pounding headache took over. Saku laid a cool hand on her forehead. "No fever, but you'll definitely need some extra care."

"E-extra care?" Nozomi managed to cough out.

"Yes, and don't try to talk now," she said motherly. "I'll go find Benkei-dono for you."

* * * *

Simply by taking a glance at Nozomi's weary form and noting her heavy, semi-labored breaths, he knew what had caused her illness and frowned. Deciding to more thoroughly check out her state, he called out her name quietly from the entry way. "Nozomi-san?" Taking the covers fidgeting as her response, he moved in closer to her bedside, sitting properly on the tatami.

She rolled over to face him, and managed a watery smile. "Benkei-san," she croaked out.

"Shh, now, don't talk," he chided calmly, picking up her hand to check her pulse. "Seems there were some repercussions from the trip out yesterday, hm?" he teased. Feeling sheepish, Nozomi feebly brought the covers back over her head. He took this as the sign to go and retrieve some medicine for her.

As he got up to leave, he felt his a slight resistance, as if his cloak had caught on something, but as he turned around, was surprised to see her weakly clenching onto the edge of the fabric.

"D-don't go," she whispered out, her voice thin and raspy.

Startled by her words, he let out a sigh, "iNozomi wa, hontou ni ikenai hito desu ne./i" She simply gave him a quizzical but pleading look. Smiling genuinely back down at her, he softly replied, "I'll be back shortly." Giving her one more supportive glance, he stepped out softly. Once out of the room, he tracked back quickly to where his storage of herbs was located.

His light, amber eyes flitted across the room to find what he was looking for. As he walked around the room, uietly muttering to himself, "Chouji, no... Ahh, chinpi, and shishiudo. Shoukyou... none? Then kankyou will do for now..."

Internally, he prepared to give someone a good talking to. Though, upset as he was at Hinoe for offering to take everyone out for a day out on the sea in winter, he was angrier at himself for letting Nozomi go out when she had previously shown signs of an oncoming cold. Yet he couldn't bring himself to tell her no when she was so excited to go out to the ocean; which led him to wonder how she was able to convince him into something so unreasonable. 'Am I growing too soft?' he chuckled to himself.

Bundling everything into a satchel, he stopped to look through another parcel. 'Perhaps we can forgo talking with that boy,' he mused. Smiling brightly to himself, he pulled out some ketsumeishi, knowing it wouldn't be hard to ask Yuzuru to slip a little extra into Hinoe's portion for dinner tonight.

Walking back into where Nozomi was resting, he noticed someone, mostly likely Saku, had delivered a lacquered platter with a steaming teapot of water and two cups; one empty, and one with a small bit of honey. Content that he had the foresight to request the water and honey, Benkei placed the herbs he brought and set them out on the tray.

Seeing as Nozomi was awake, he held out a piece of chinpi to her. "Nozomi-san, please place that in your mouth. It will help with your throat," he added as she eyed what he had given her. Tentatively she placed it in her mouth, finding the taste vaguely like clove and citrus; the effect of the herb not unlike a cough drop back home. Noticing Benkei continue to make something, she settled back down to watch him. Her gaze rose to his face, watching as he purposefully cut small pieces of various herbs and place it in one of the teacups. For some reason, Benkei felt the slightest bit self-conscious being under her intent stare. He quickly tried to smother the feeling and instead spoke suddenly startling Nozomi, "oya? Am I that interesting to watch? Could it be there's something on my face?"

Flustered, Nozomi quickly looked the other direction as she heard him laugh softly. Yet even turned away, her ears were still focused on his actions. Soon, she heard the pouring of water, and the gentle clinking of something stirring the contents of one of the porcelain cups. Curiousity got the best of her, as she turned around once more to watch him brew what she assumed to be some kind of tea.

"I regret that I have to ask if you could sit up, Nozomi-san." Nodding, she struggled to sit up, as Benkei reached forward as one hand took her own, and the other placed on her back to help support her. Finally upright, he offered her a cup of something fragrant and warm. "Please drink that slowly, as it's still a bit warm," he warned.

First inhaling the scent of the tea, Nozomi took small sips of the mildly sweet liquid. Already she felt her spirit calming, and her head clearing. Pretty soon she had finished the cup, and handed it back, smiling. Benkei then once again helped her lay down, just as he had helped her up. Closing her eyes, Nozomi felt much more peaceful than she had been earlier, snuggled down once more to rest.

Placing his hand over hers once again, he whispered tenderly, "rest well."

Reaching the doorway, he cast one more look back at her now peaceful form, feeling relief wash over him. As he took a step outside, he pausing as he heard a faint, "thank you, Benkei-san."

Smiling to himself, he inwardly acknowledged her gratitude, and continued on his way out.

'Even if all I can do for you is this much, to ease some of your pain, I think I can die a happy man.'

Looking up at the gray sky, the young man pulled his hood closer around himself. He lowered his head, drawing his face back into the shadow of his cloak.