AN: Yay, my very first Sekaiichi Hatsukoi fic. Not brilliant by all means, but I tried. ^^ Please enjoy, and feel free to review… ;D
Onodera was woken by the shrill buzzing of his alarm clock. He cracked open one eye, blankly stared at the time before hitting the 'off' button. He pulled the duvet closer, enveloping himself in its warmth and closed his eyes. He was about to drift back to sleep when his brain finally registered what he had seen on his alarm: 8:30 am.
Cursing, he threw the blankets back and scrambled to find clean clothes. One express shower and breakfast later, and the newbie editor was slamming his door shut and frantically locking it. He didn't even glance at Takano's door; he would be at work by now. Onodera couldn't believe he had slept in. It hadn't happened to him since he was in high school! If he didn't get slated by his superiors for being tardy, Takano would surely give him a good tease. It seemed to amuse him to no end.
Onodera spent five minutes in front of the elevator, pushing buttons and tapping his foot when he noticed the little 'out of order' sticker on the door. "What he fuck?" He shouted to no one in particular. Late for work, and the damned landlord didn't have the brains to put the sticker in a place where it could be seen.
Rolling his eyes in frustration, the brown haired editor turned on his heels and walked towards the stairs. As he descended, he glanced at his watch. 9 am. It took him the most of half an hour to be ready. Ooh, when Takano got his hands on him… Onodera shuddered to think about what cruel punishment was being conjured up by his superior at that very moment. If there was one thing Takano excelled at other than editing, it was torturing Onodera.
As Onodera neared the bottom of the steps, the front doors suddenly opened. Looking like a badly made bed, Takano walked into the buildings. Mid-yawn, he noticed Onodera walking down the stairs.
"Onodera? Where are you going?"
The newbie kept walking. "Work." He said simply.
Takano was about to interject something, but Onodera's foot suddenly missed the bottom step. He reacted quickly and tried to catch the editor as he fell, but gravity got the better of Onodera. He landed on the ground, somehow managing to slam his wrist against the ground.
"Onodera! Are you okay?" Takano crouched down beside his lover and tried to sit him up. The minute Onodera moved his hand, mind-numbing pain shot through his arm.
"Ow…" He could feel tears stinging his eyes as he whimpered in pain. He didn't dare look down at his wrist, which felt like it had been bent backwards at an extreme angle.
Takano took his hand gently and examined it with a worried expression. "Does it hurt?" He asked.
Onodera wanted to reprimand him for asking such a stupid question – of course it bloody hurt! He was practically crying – but he simply nodded.
The editor-in-chief stood up and lifted Onodera up like a groom would to a new bride. "I'll take you to the hospital. It looks broken." He said softly.
For a few minutes, Onodera's senses returned. "Hey! Put me down – I can walk, y'know!" He used his good hand to feebly hit Takano's shoulder. "I'll go myself. Takano-san!"
Takano gave him a rare smile and shook his head. "Yeah, I know you can walk, but it's more romantic this way. Beside," he pushed the door open with his hip and walked out onto the street, "I remember you once told me you fainted in class one day when you saw blood. I can't let you go to the hospital alone."
Onodera wanted to protest, but the pulsing agony from his wrist was making him feel faint. He sighed and focused his concentration on not moving his arm while Takano tried to catch the attention of one of the passing-by taxis.
As much as Onodera hated to admit, Takano was damn right about the blood thing. As soon as they entered the A&E department, the newbie editor felt bile rise up in his throat. Takano took a seat farthest away from those with bleeding wounds, but Onodera still caught the sight of people with gashes on their faces or the odd patient with an entire bandage soaked in red.
He was barely conscious of Takano speaking to him during the entire trip. He couldn't help but wonder how he'd do his work if his arm was to be set in plaster. He was lucky it wasn't his writing hand, otherwise Takano would have killed him long ago.
Half an hour they sat in silence. The pain was beginning to ebb, but Onodera suspected it was because he had grown used to it. He awkwardly sat beside Takano, who was watching patients come and go from the doors.
All was well until a teenager sat beside Onodera.
"I told you not to use that knife, Shinobu," an older man sat beside him, scolding him in the most tender way possible.
The brown-haired editor dared to glance sideways. His eyes caught sight of the blood, and he suddenly felt very nauseous. He could smell the blood, metallic and strong. The feel of it on his skin…
He was five once again, young and about to be torn from his innocence. There was so much blood. His best friend had fallen from the tree. The sound he made when he landed would churn Onodera's stomach for many years to come. He had screamed and called for help, while demanding his friend woke up. He shook his shoulder, pressed his hands to the rapidly bleeding fracture, all the time shrieking for the little boy to open his eyes.
He didn't. He lay there, still and silent, blood covering his ashen face. The red stains on Onodera's hands never seemed to wash away, no matter how hard he had tried…
He felt something press hard on his windpipe, squeezing and constricting his breath. Everything went black, and his head began to swim; screams, and cries of sorrow. The smell… The smell of blood… and tears. His hands were covered in blood, and he wanted to cry…
"… 'dera.. Onodera!"
The editor suddenly opened his eyes, which he didn't remember closing so tightly. He was still sitting in the cold plastic chair in the emergency room. The man beside him was gone, and Takano was cupping Onodera's face in his hands firmly, demanding if he was okay.
He nodded eventually, aware of how dry his throat was. He swallowed, but it did no good.
"Onodera, what's wrong?"
The newbie editor shook his head and refused to answer, but his eyes told Takano all he needed to know. An arm was wrapped around Onodera's shoulder, and he took the gesture as an excuse to rest his head on Takano's shoulder.
It was strange, he hadn't realised how cold he felt until the warmth returned.
"It was the blood," he said, his voice barely higher than a whisper. Takano still heard him, however, and allowed himself to press a small kiss to Onodera's temple.
"Lucky you brought me then, huh?" A ghost of a smile threatened to show on his lips.
"Stupid. You invited yourself." There he was, the old Onodera. Back, if not only briefly.
Takano took Onodera's cold hand in his and gave a reassuring squeeze. "Was it bad this time?"
Closing his eyes and slumping back in the chair, Onodera nodded. Maybe it was because he hadn't been in a situation where he'd seen blood in so long, but he hadn't had a reaction like that in a long time. He knew his fear of blood was irrational, but he couldn't shake it off. He'd lived for so long with his terror that it would be harder to overcome it than to simply go with it.
He didn't register his name being called several minutes later until Takano stood up. They followed a tall doctor into a small office. In the hours that followed, Onodera was poked and x-rayed and poked some more. He was dosed up on painkillers and it was concluded his wrist was only sprained. He orders were simple, rest and TLC. Onodera didn't like the way Takano's eyes had lit up when the doctor said that.
After some more observation, Onodera was discharged. By then, the painkillers were working their magic.
"Takano-san… I'm hungry."
They had just arrived home to Takano's apartment. The editor-in-chief wouldn't have let Onodera go back to his own apartment, especially not after his little accident this morning. He had silently agreed that unless the elevator was fixed, Onodera was to be wrapped in bubble wrap the next time he went down the stairs. With a ribbon on top.
"What're you smiling at?" Onodera asked, narrowing his green eyes at Takano.
The raven haired man decided not to share the image of Onodera in a pink ribbon yet, and change the subject. "I told you to lie down. You'll only hurt yourself again."
Onodera shot back something that sounded like, "Yes mother," and slumped down on the couch. The medicine was kicking him - he felt both sleepy and bold at the same time. He found himself watching Takano reheat leftovers from yesterday, and couldn't help but admire how the older man looked. Even without a good night's sleep and spending half the day in a hospital, Takano still looked like a damned host. It made Onodera envy him.
"Are you checking me out?" Takano asked, sliding down beside Onodera on the chair and handing him his plate.
Onoderas flushed red, but didn't bother denying it. Whatever was in those painkillers really was working its magic.
"Hey Takano," Onodera said when they had finished eating at were sitting in silence, "Do you think I'm… weak?" he didn't let Takano answer before adding, "I mean, the sight of blood just… I couldn't breathe I was so terrified." He pressed his hand to his mouth when he felt tears prick his eyes.
Takano wrapped his arms around him tightly. He knew it was the medication talking – never in a million years would Onodera ask him if he was weak – but maybe… Just maybe he'd say something he shouldn't, something that desperately needed to be said. "You're not weak, Onodera… Everyone has fears, and…"
"But… I nearly faint when I see blood…" He buried his face into the folds of Takano's shirt and said, much quietly, "It's his fault… If he hadn't… If I wasn't… Maybe this wouldn't…"
The older editor suddenly froze. "Onodera… Who are you talking about?"
"Mikami!" He said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Who is…?" Takano didn't need to finish that sentence. Onodera had begun to explain.
"H-He was seven. I was five. He s-said he could climb higher and higher, so high he'd see all of Tokyo… He fell, and…" Onodera let a sob escape his lips, and he stopped speaking.
Takano remembered. How could he forget? It had been on the news and was the centre of much gossip for many weeks at the time. When he was with Onodera in high school, there was a memorial for the tenth anniversary and a message from the boy's parents, thanking the support they got from their son's friends. The name Ritsu was mentioned. Onodera had, at the time, turned off the TV and muttered about it being too depressing for them to watch.
Takano should've asked him there and then, but the sadness in his eyes seemed too distant.
Onodera let a choked sob escape his lips and called for Takano to hold him.
"Shh," he pulled his lover tighter to his body and kissed the top of his head gently. "It's okay…" He didn't know how long they spent, Onodera embraced in Takano's arms with him whispering reassuringly in his ear. He did know that, eventually, Onodera fell asleep in his arms.
Takano carried him to his bed and laid him down gently, brushing his hair back and kissing his forehead softly. He turned to leave when a fistful of his shirt was tugged from behind. Smiling he turned to face a half-asleep Onodera.
"Stay with me?" He mumbled, already falling back to sleep.
By the time Takano had got into the bed and wrapped his arms around Onodera, he appeared asleep. However, when Takano purred an 'I love you' into his ear, Onodera whispered, ever so softly back, '… love you too'.
Shame, Takano thought, the brat wouldn't remember a damned thing in the morning.
Onodera woke up, well-rested for once, in Takano's arm. He tried to move, but he seemed to be caught in a tight embrace from Takano. He pushed at his chest gently, and was made aware that his wrist was still sore, but not as bad as it had been yesterday.
"Morning…" Takano suddenly said, yawning as he sat up. "I love waking up next to you…" He wrapped an arm around Onodera and pulled him closer, despite the protests the smaller man gave. "How's your wrist?" He pressed a soft kiss to Onodera's cheek.
"It's getting better…" The brown haired man said indignantly, not bothering to tell him off for the kiss. He could barely remember what happened in the hospital yesterday, and his worries were only deepened when Takano gave him a knowing smile.
"Do you remember what you told me last night?"
Onodera swallowed. He vaguely could recall the words 'blood' and 'weak' and- "Oh god no! I didn't tell you about Mikami, did I?" By the look on his lover's face, he had.
They lapsed into a silence, filled with Takano mutely admiring how adorable Onodera was when he was embarrassed, and said man with his gaze averted and a crimson blush on his face. "Takano…" he said tentatively after a minute of dead quiet, "Em, last night… I mean, what I meant was… What I mean is… I didn't tell you this before, but…" he trailed off when he caught Takano's eye.
"Continue," he raven haired man said, a smile threatening to appear his lips.
"Em, well, I never had told anyone about that incident before…"
The editor-in-chief feigned ignorance. "About what incident?"
Onodera's face deepened another shade of red, as it always did around Takano. "You know… The thing with the blood…" he refused to look Takano in the eyes when he added, "You're the first person I've ever told that story too… Ever." He buried his face behind his hands in embarrassment. "Oh god, just forget I said anything… We should go to work… It's getting late and —Ahh!"
Takano attacked him with his lips, and by the way he kissed Onodera, both men knew they'd never make it to work today… Not after Onodera opened his mouth and said something as – Takano's wording – 'adorable' as that.