Just like every other day for the past couple of days or so the weather was good, and Ueno walked with Aki most of the way to his place, carrying his books for him.
Aki's state didn't seem to be improving any but Aki was still always smiling it off, telling him not to worry. How was that possible? That mans had driven into him and probably caused about as much damage as a lorry would have. Ueno wouldn't have blamed Aki if he had acted more upset by his entire situation, but at the same time when he looked upset Ueno didn't feel any better about it.
Today Aki seemed to be having trouble walking and the smiles he would put on his face seemed very forced. He was obviously in pain but he wasn't going to say anything about it. He slowed down a lot on their path home and when Ueno looked back he found that he had stopped completely. "Aki-san!" He had resorted recently to calling him a slightly more formal title; the other one reminded him far too much of what they had done with each other.
He was crouched down, his one good arm protecting his stomach. He put on his usual smile and looked up to Ueno, "I'm fine."
"You don't look too well; you look like you should be seeing a doctor."
"No, no, I'm really fine; just a little pain that's all." He tried to get up to prove to the other he was in a fit state, though his shaking legs failed him.
"If it were just a little pain then you'd handle it better than you are this." Ueno helped him up onto his feet, an arm around his waist.
"D-do you need to lean against me? Maybe if..."
"I can walk myself, don't worry about me."
"You need to get into bed." He held tightly onto him and continued to get him down the street. Aki had frequently resisted being walked to his door, seemingly he didn't want Ueno to come in or see the place that he had scraped the bit he had together to rent after he had been thrown out. Because of this Ueno couldn't say he was too surprised when he was met with some resistance.
"Is it really wise for you to be alone? If you're not even going to see a doctor..."
"I'll be fine, really." He struggled to take his books back from him; his one good arm and his shaky hand were not sufficient enough to carry the large and heavy items. "I should just go lie down."
Before he even knew what he was proposing the words escaped his lips, "Come back to my place."
Aki seemed hesitant; he almost looked like he wanted to ask why, but somehow he found himself nodding slowly.
Ueno would've felt terribly guilty if something bad happened to Aki just because Aki didn't want to show him the crummy apartment he'd moved into; since Aki defied his master right after their meeting he felt somewhat responsible. He put his arm back around his waist and pulled his one good arm onto his shoulder, "Rest against me; I don't live that far." They got to the apartment that, however messy it was, he didn't feel too bad about bringing Aki in; it was certainly better than the alternative in his mind. "Make yourself comfortable." He had just closed the door and when he turned around Aki was still close, and wrapping his good arm around his neck.
"The state I'm in doesn't let me do much, but don't hesitate to do what you want."
"What?" Aki's fingers were tangling through his hair and inching their faces closer. "No, no. You've misunderstood!"
Ueno smiled nervously and pulled away, "I brought you here to keep an eye on you! Make sure you're okay!" He was frantic, and it was puzzling the other a lot. "I didn't bring you here to do that."
Ueno's smile continued to display his nervousness; he pushed Aki slowly in the direction of the couch, "I'll feel a lot better if you sit down though." Aki was still very close to bending over again and as white as a sheet. "Let me get you something warm to drink, okay? Just...make yourself comfortable."
He hurried to the kitchen and amongst the clutter was able to make a cup of tea, bringing it to the living room and waiting for Aki to be able to take it into his hand.
"Are you sure you don't want to go to the hospital?"
"Ah, you're so stubborn." Ueno sighed, sitting beside him abruptly.
"My insurance won't cover it if I go to the hospital with this again." Aki informed him calmly before sipping his tea. "And I can't afford it if I do it without it."
"Oh." Well that made Ueno want to stick his foot in his mouth. He really should have shut up about it. "Why don't you go and lie down in the next room?"
"I'm fine as long as I'm at least sitting."
Ueno released a shaky breath, "Why is it hurting so bad?" He whispered in thought.
"Bruising." Aki mumbled. "He kicked me a lot, and stepped on me."
"No way!" Ueno had no idea why he sounded so surprised; the sight of Aki's bandaged body was enough to show that that man had been very much capable of hurting him so heartlessly. "You want something to eat? You barely touched lunch."
"No food. Not hungry."
Ueno was running out of suggestions. He didn't know how to take care of humans! Now if Aki really was a rabbit... He shook the thought from his head and then knelt on the ground to untie Aki's shoes, "You can use my bed; maybe if you get some sleep you'll feel better."
"Here." He held his hands out to pull Aki up from the low couch, if he'd let him help him. Aki used the couch for support to get up onto his feet but then put an arm on his shoulder, using him to get to the bedroom and into the bed.
Ueno left him alone to get comfortable and took just a moment for himself to think in the kitchen. He'd pretty much just invited a stranger into his home. Then again, he didn't really consider him a stranger after what they had...done together.
Aki in the meantime squirmed a bit with discomfort; sleeping hadn't been much of an option for the past few days. There was only so much sleep you could get just lying on your back and his injuries disallowed him from laying any other way. Ueno returned to the room holding a large bottle of water, handing it to him, "I don't have any hot packs but hopefully that'll work for a bit."
It did feel good against his stomach; certainly eased some of the horrible cramping feelings. "Thanks." Even if the bottle itself made no difference, the offer alone was something that warmed his heart.
Ueno gave another nervous smile, backing up to the doorway, "I'll be in the next room."
"You can stay if you want," Aki told him, smiling but looking elsewhere, "I don't think I'll manage to sleep."
He didn't feel right hanging around so closely at this time, but he also couldn't turn him away. He took a seat on the ground by the bed, "I can stay with you, but you should sleep."
Aki showed him a grateful smile, then crawled further into the warmth of the sheets. Ueno sat with him until a sufficient amount of time had past; Aki was such a peaceful looking person that, besides for the tiny winces of discomfort slipping through the cracks of that well-used mask, he seemed to be comfortably sleeping. When Ueno was able to stand up and go to the door unnoticed, he was certain. Every time he finished some homework he would crawl across the small living room to take a look into the bedroom to see how he was; always still sleeping peacefully.
Trying to make dinner for more than one person was a little more troublesome, as he realized once he dropped numerous pots and pans to the ground from overcrowding his little kitchen. He recovered quickly and as quietly as possible.
"What's that smell?"
Ueno jumped a bit, and found Aki bundled up in a blanket behind him, peering into the pots. "I'm sorry. Did I wake you?"
"No." He wrapped an arm around his shoulders, using him for support. "It looks good."
"Are you hungry?"
"A little bit." Aki's face tinged with pink.
"Are you feeling better?"
"Yes." He went to rest against the wall by the door, watching from there.
"It'll be ready soon so you can go and sit down; I won't be long."
Aki sighed quietly and then made his way out, sitting in the living room by himself. Ueno came in with two steaming bowls, a satisfied look on his face. They mostly sat and ate in silence, except for paying him a quiet compliment. When Ueno caught him struggling slightly with the chopsticks for the noodles he kicked himself, chuckling lightly and going to the kitchen; coming back with a fork.
"Earlier..." Ueno had only given him just enough chance to eat and put down his bowl; no chance to say 'I should be going'. "Did you really think that I asked you to come back here to have sex?"
"Why not?" Aki shrugged his shoulder, the other hurt too much to move, and sat back comfortably. "It's a perfectly reasonable explanation."
"How is it perfectly reasonable? Is that what he used to do?" Ueno jumped, and was mortified by the thought.
"If he wanted."
"I know I am."
"No! I didn't mean it like that; I'm saying what he was doing..." Ueno sighed. "Conversation is so difficult with you, isn't it?" he mumbled quietly beneath his breath.
Aki's lips curled into a sad smile, "I'm sorry."
"Ah, don't be sorry," Ueno waved his hands, smiling, "it's my own fault; I can't really understand what it was like for you so..."
"I suppose it wasn't all bad." The smaller man whispered, crossing his arms against his stomach. "It ended well." Ueno's eyebrows shot up at him; only then did Aki realize he was touching his broken arm. He laughed, cocking his head to the side, "I don't mean this part obviously."
"Even if you deny it, I know that this state you're in now is my own fault."
"I'm glad though. I see now that...having this and living with it for a while is better than laying there..."
He was temporarily stunned by the boys words; he sounded almost like he hated himself, but happy at the same time. "Are you...?" He scooted a little closer. "Happy for leaving?"
"That's a relief." He sighed.
"As you've shown me though, I still have a lot to get used to. I suppose I make being walked over a bit too easy."
"You'll be fine. As long as you stay away from people like him..."
"I have no intention of being around people like him, or many new people for that matter." He relaxed, exhaling very lightly, "I'll be very happy if I can just stay with you."
He was at a complete loss for words. Aki really was a very forward person! "Ah, I...have no problem with that." And he didn't at all! Aki was so fragile, but so strong; he would have loved to be able to learn from him, to gain such strength. And if, in the meantime, he could be the strength of someone else then he wouldn't mind.
Aki scooted closer and dropped his head onto Ueno's shoulder, nuzzling closer much like the rabbit that Ueno had initially mistaken 'Aki-chan' to be when he had taken the job. Ueno reached up, petting his hair gently. Before he knew it, Aki was kissing his neck lightly, and his one good hand went between Ueno's legs.
"Stop it." Ueno swatted his hand away quickly. "You're still injured."
Aki slowly returned his hand to what it had intended to do, replying with, "I don't mind." And a serious nod.
Ueno groaned, "I don't want to hurt you." He reminded him sternly, removing the hand again.
"I don't mind if you do," was the careless statement that passed his lips. "I like you after all."
"I mind though! And I'm not going to hurt you because we're not going to do this." Ueno pulled back a bit, sighing, hanging his head in defeat and gripping Aki's shoulders. "I like you too but...before we can do that again...I'll have to prove to you that I'm not like him."
Aki had a smile tugging at his lips; he knew that the other wasn't anything like his demented Master, he didn't need to be shown. But, he was obviously curious, "How are you going to do that?"
Ueno thought about it for a moment; it was certainly going to be a lot more difficult than he would have expected it to be. "Stay the night..." He proposed suddenly, "But...we'll watch a movie."
"A movie! And you have homework, right? I'll help you with it in the morning." He got off the couch and opened the drawer, picking out some DVDs.
Aki went quiet, he couldn't say anything because if he did he had no idea what he could possibly say. He could only smile, and laugh, as Ueno went through his whole collection trying to find something to keep the mood light. When Ueno returned to the couch Aki leaned closer, curling up beside him and placing his head on his shoulder. Ueno expected an attempt like earlier, but it seemed Aki had listened to him, and sat comfortably just looking at the screen with a content smile on his face.
Aki nodded, flashing his smile up to Ueno before turning back to the TV. He burrowed a little closer, "Hey...Can you..." He looked up again, and explained just with his eyes and with the way he moved closer.
Ueno put an arm around him, across his back, and held him close by his side, "Like this?"
Aki nodded again, and finally settled down properly against him. Comfortable and protected, he felt like he would be happy if this was the only sort of intimacy they shared for a while. It felt exhilarating to have an intimate moment with his clothes on, and yet somehow he felt all the more vulnerable. Somehow, he liked it.
A/N: A bit of fluffiness. I had thought for a bit that they would get a tiny bit further than this, but they didn't want to so I couldn't force them.
Thank you for reading! A review would be greatly appreciated!