Pink Tinge

'Take off your shirt.' 'What? Why?' – He turned a flushed pink suddenly as he felt the other's cold fingertips trailing on his back. 'That feels weird. A nice sort of weird though…'

Kouji M & Kouichi K

Genre/s: Read and find out

Rating: T

Halfway through dinner, Kouji noticed his brother had been staring at him all day. As in, really staring. It didn't look as though their parents had noticed, both father and stepmother enjoying the warm Teriyaki steaming in their bowls. Kouichi just seemed to be rearranging the contents of his own bowl with the chopsticks.

The younger twin lowered his half raised chopsticks and meet his brother's eyes, causing Kouichi to quickly break eye contact and shovel some rice into his mouth. Kouji blinked, before raising the chopsticks to his own mouth again.

Once all four were finished, he got up, planning to gather the dirty dishes and wash them, seeing as if it was his turn. Kouichi however beat him to it.

'I've got them,' the older twin said, piling the bowls together so he could take them to the kitchen in a single trip, meeting his brother's eyes just long enough to tell him silently that he was not to interfere in any way, before leaving the half-formed protests behind.

'I feel like I'm in trouble,' Kouji muttered to himself, sitting back down.

'I don't think that's it,' his father said in amusement, as Satomi attempted to help the older twin. 'He looked sort of jumpy to me.'

Well, that was true. But why?

As soon as the twins were upstairs in Kouji's bedroom and the younger twin shut the door behind him, Kouichi rounded on him.

'Take off your shirt,' he said firmly.

Kouji gaped at the sudden, and rather odd, request. 'What? Why?'

The elder twin refused to meet his eyes, shuffling his feet a little but still sounded resolute. 'Just do it.'

The younger twin was, understandably, very confused. But he did as asked, feeling rather awkward and a tad exposed as pulled the skin tight yellow t-shirt over his head. The fabric stuck to his face at that moment, obscuring his vision…so he obviously couldn't see his brother moving. In fact, he didn't even know, seeing as the floor was carpeted and the other's footsteps light, until-

He turned a flushed pink suddenly, as he felt the other's cold fingertips trailing on his back.

'That feels weird,' he managed, once he was sure his voice wasn't going to crack. 'A nice sort of weird though…'

'It would,' Kouichi said, his voice sounding a little funny, not stopping whatever he was doing even as the other squirmed. 'Old wounds aren't immune to infections, especially when you ignore them.'

It took a moment for the younger twin to understand. 'How could you tell?' he muttered, a little torn at his brother's observational skills, the remnants of his guilt, and being caught out in that little white lie.

'You've been wincing all day,' Kouichi said quietly. 'And today's not the first time.'

Kouji's shoulder slumped, but before he could think of some excuse, his brother spoke again.

'You shouldn't have lied and said it was gone.' The older twin fingered the scar left by Duskmon.'

'Couldn't you have just brought it like everyone else?'

'Don't insult my intelligence Kouji. They knew better than I did.'

Which was true. Unfortunately for the younger twin.

'I don't want you blaming yourself for something that was completely out of your control,' Kouji said firmly, making to pull the shirt back down, only to be held back by the older twin.

'It's infected,' he repeated. 'How long?'

Kouji thought about that. He had hazarded a guess that it had been infected when he had first noted the ugly red flushes, which had since died down to a flushed pink with the help of the antibacterials in the medicine cabinet above the sink.

'Around the time it was healing.' Kouichi took the silence as an answer. 'Let me guess,' he added dryly. 'Amoxillin.'


'You know that bacteria get resistant to antibiotics when you use them too long. The non-resistant strands are destroyed, but then the surviving ones reproduce, eventually giving you a colony of amoxillin resistant bacteria.'

'Oh,' the younger twin said quietly, wincing. 'So that's what happened. I was wondering why it wouldn't go away.'

'And you didn't show a doctor?'

'How was I supposed to explain this?' He waved his hand a little uselessly. 'They'll think 'tou-san was abusing me or something.'

'…I hadn't thought of that.'

There was silence for a moment, before both spoke at the same time.

'I'm sorry.'

They looked at each other, Kouji turning slightly in order to meet his brother's eyes, before both of them left the tangent they were heading towards. They had a habit of going in circles.

'What are you going to do them?' Kouichi asked eventually.

Kouji shrugged. 'If amoxillin isn't working,' I'll try something else.'

'You really want a colony of super-bacteria living on your back?'

'Well…when you put it that way…but what else can I do? And don't you dare say this is your fault. If anyone's, it's Lucemon's for brainwashing Cherubimon into brainwashing you…or even Takuya, for not listening to me.'

'You didn't exactly try to make him understand until you both sat on opposite faces,' the elder twin pointed out, frowning as he let go of the shirt a moment, leaving in mid conversation but returning a moment later with a jar of cream, applying it gently and causing the other to let out a sound of surprise. 'You're both so stubborn. But would it hurt to speak up when you have a problem?'

'Look who's talking,' Kouji grumbled. 'And what are you doing?'

'Putting cream on your-' Kouichi began, before cutting off as they heard their father downstairs in the bathroom.

'Has anyone seen my arthritis cream?'

Kouji's face looked rather commercial at that.

'You're using arthritis cream?'

'Iie,' Kouichi replied, as they both heard a 'never mind, found it' right after. 'Vitamin E and Aloe Vera. And you could have just asked, because 'kaa-san works at the hospital, and I'm sure she could have taken care of it.'

'…I hadn't thought of that.'