All characters © Ryohgo Narita
Summary/Notes: It was bound to happen: when one gets sick, they all do. Otaku Van Gang in all their epicness. This was actually inspired by a Saiyuki extra that I'd read a few years ago and remembered now.
Do Not Want
It wasn't like they spent all their time in the little caravan; Ikebukuro was a city where most people got around by foot or by taxi. There were plenty of places to hang, such as Simon's sushi bar, the manga store...
Okay, so they did spend the majority of their time in the car. But who could blame them? Besides Kaztano, who acted as their sole father figure, none of them really had much of a family to go home to. The van became their real home. And, although it smelled like leather and ink and wasn't particularly capacious, it was where the gang shared their fondest moments.
They ended up sharing other things as well, for better and for worse.
It had all started with a sniffle from Yumacchi.
Under the steady thrum of the van's engine it was an inconsequential thing, unnoticed by the others for a few days until it developed into a dry cough during one of their frequent road trips.
"You're not getting sick, are you, Yumacchi?" Erika looked over worriedly from behind the newest issue of Lala. Walker only gave her a loopy smile and fanned himself with a spare volume of whatever was laying around.
"If so, wouldn't I need to have a beautiful megane-dojikko nurse spoon-feed me medicine?" he declared dreamily from the back seat, leaving Erika's question unanswered. Togusa and Kadota merely rolled their eyes, well-acquainted with Walker's antics.
a day later...
"Togusaaa!" he wailed, gripping the back of the caravan's passenger seat. Today his voice was whittled down to a whisper, yet he still managed to wail. The sound was akin to a strangling cat. "Togusa, can't we crank a window?"
"I already have," Togusa snapped, his eyes fixed on the road ahead of him. He knew Walker only neglected to add the "san" after his name when he was flustered or in danger. "This is the best I can do. We don't have back windows."
Kadota was shrugging out of his hoodie. "Give her this," he said as he tossed it over the seat. "It might help her fever."
"Sorry, Yumacchi," Erika whispered, smiling faintly. She had been fine an hour ago, and now she was barely lucid.
Walker draped the sweater over her and brushed a stray tress of hair away from her face, looking both incredibly sick and guilty at the same time. "No fair," he whimpered, "you stole my line."
a little later...
Kadota frowned and turned to their driver. "Was there a reason you just made a turn on red, Togusa?"
Togusa crinkled his nose. "There was too much traffic that way. I'm taking a shortcut."
"To where?" Erika asked. Her temperature had fallen, thankfully, but she was still a bit miffed.
The van veered dangerously close to the other lane before Togusa recovered and steered it back into safe waters.
Kadota looked at him stonily. "Not you too?"
"Togusa..." Walker protested weakly from the back seat. "Togusa-san, pull over. I think I'm gonna..."
"Don't you dare hurl in my car."
"I-I don't think I can-"
"No, no, no, not on my fucking upholstery! Atschoo!"
"Gross, Yumacchi! Hey, not on Kuroshitsuji either!"
Kadota sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He was getting a headache.
a little later...
After hitting a mailbox, ignoring two red lights, and almost running over an elderly pedestrian due to sneezing, Togusa finally bequeathed the wheel to Kadota. The others breathed a quiet sigh of relief.
"How the hell do you drive with the gas so far in?" Kadota grumbled, trying to locate the pedals. His dark hair kept flopping in front of his face (he'd abandoned his hat a while ago to serve Walker's abdominal needs) and he couldn't see a thing. All of this seemed to exacerbate his headache, which was prying into the soft flesh of his brain like an eager sea urchin.
Togusa's only response was a loud sneeze as he lay his head against the dashboard. "Don't ask be, it cabe that way." The ability to pronounce certain consonants in the Japanse alphabet had almost completely deserted him.
"Ugh...the first thig I'b doig once we get back is buyig sub tissues for the-"
"Kadota-san, Erika's fever's gone up again!"
"Well yellig about it wodt help," Togusa snapped at Walker, running a sleeve under his nose. "I blabe you for all of this id the first place." Walker flushed and gave him a drowned puppy look. He removed Erika's hat and began to fan her with it.
"We have water in the back, and no one's passed out yet," he noted with a somewhat perfunctory optimism. "We'll be fine as long as Kadota-san's okay."
"Shh, Yumacchi...don't jinx us."
Too late, Kadota thought, but said nothing aloud. He cleared his throat softly. "We should head back."
"We're not going to finish our trip?"
"How are you feelig adyway, Kadota?"
"Fine," he answered, if a little too brusquely. "You should worry more about yourselves." He jutted out his lower lip and blew a strand of hair out of his eyes.
a little later...
Erika swam out of her daze. "What is it, Togusa?" She peered around the headrest (not the vomit-splattered one) to get a view of the driver's seat. The sky had darkened by now, so she couldn't see much besides the faint glow of the headlights.
She blinked, glanced at Kadota. "Is that...what I think it is?"
Walker was beginning to stir, half asleep. "Wha?"
Kadota scowled. "Not a word." Not that that did much good. Erika broke into a half-baked grin, cocking her head.
"Who knew that Dotachin sneezed so quietly! This is definitely moe material."
"Don't include me in your nonsensical ramblings."
Togusa, looking worried, quickly placed the back of his palm against Kadota's forehead. He was only able to do so because he'd discarded his hat earlier, but now he wished he'd stayed put. "Wow, Kadota. Baybe you should pull over."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Walker rasped, now fully awake.
Togusa poorly stifled a sneeze. "Seriously. You're burdig." Unfortunately Kadota didn't hear him, too preoccupied with coughing into his elbow. Walker's expression went slack as he saw an Orinco truck approaching.
A few eternal minutes later, after spinning over the road like a dreidel, the van came to a stop on the highway's shoulder. Walker had gotten sick again, this time over the back of the passenger's seat, and the four of them were sprawled out over the car's interior. Stray volumes of manga and tools of Erika and Walker's torture lay draped around them like confetti. No one said anything for a while and the silence hung, in part because everyone was feeling too dreadful to break it. Finally a pitiful sneeze from Togusa prompted a laconic decision.
a little later...
Kishitani Shinra shrugged on his white lab coat, stifling a yawn and his annoyance at being woken up in the middle of the night. After turning on the outside light, he opened the door on four of the most miserable faces he had ever seen. He let them in and watched them stumble into his living room. Only two of them seemed halfway coherent.
"Do I even want to know?"
"Doe, you really don't," Togusa replied, before collapsing onto the couch.