Disclaimer: The only thing I own is the story idea and only some of the witty remarks. I own so little; so please don't steal.

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[=]

For a man well versed in science and the tangible, Midorima Shintarou is a superstitious doctor. He knows that sleeping with your stomach exposed is medically acceptable, but he still warns against it with the little ones. Blood types have nothing to do with your personality, of course, as it flows through your veins to transport oxygen, but he still considers it a reasonable explanation to why he can't get along with certain people. Most importantly of all, he must watch Oha Asa for the horoscope or else his day will always be bad. Before he discovered the show, his life was normally uneventful, but he isn't willing to try his luck anymore.

He watches Oha Asa in the morning while wrapping his fingers. He wraps them because they heighten his sensitivity in his fingertips, which is vital when you're inspecting a patient. If there is any abnormality that can be overlooked, it can be a tiny bump that only the most sensitive of fingers can pick up. "Cancers are the middle of the lot today!" the announcer says cheerfully. "But it doesn't mean they'll be having an average day! How their day turns out will depend on how you see things! Will being late mean that you've got your pay docked, or does it mean you've got a rare chance to see the world around you? Of course, keep your lucky item with you at all times for the best result! Cancers, your lucky item for the day is toast!"

His regular patients are used to his antics, so they don't question when he comes in for their appointment with a stale piece of toast in one hand.

His day is going quite decently, and he can't figure out Oha Asa's prediction – or warning? – but he figures that a good day can also be okay. Isn't the message to look at both sides of a situation? The toast is crummy and gets all over his papers, but all lucky items are worth their trouble. A neighborhood clinic doctor isn't as glamorous as a shiny hospital doctor, but things have been going well for him. He has regular patients who recommend him to others. It's part of Midorima's meticulous behavior that he answers all their questions before they even formulate them. It's what makes him so good.

He has a walk-in near three, who he waves into room two. He's funded by the big hospital in town, but he still manages the clinic by himself, acting as the physician, receptionist, pharmacist, and pretty much everything a clinic needs. It's bothersome, but much better than having someone else who would ruin the order that he has painstakingly created. He gathers everything he needs for a new record for the walk-in and brushes into the room, adjusting his lab coat. He sets the new file and the toast down and begins to wash his hands. "What seems to be the problem today?" he asks briskly.

The answer is a crunch, and Midorima turns to find the walk-in, a hapless soul, eating his toast. "It's old," the walk-in says between crunches, a little frown creasing his forehead. "No butter." When the toast is all gone and Midorima is left staring at him with dripping hands, the young man cocks his head. "Oh, did you want to eat that?"

"You ate my lucky item," Midorima says, torn between the crushing surprise and the increasing anger. The emotions contort his face into something that makes the patient laugh.

"Your lucky item? Oh! That's funny!"

"There's nothing funny about it at all," Midorima sniffs, adjusting his glasses and drying his hands. Without his lucky item, he may as well just close his eyes and walk into traffic. He doesn't have time to go home and make more toast, and he doesn't have bread in the clinic. He begins to unwind the wrappings around his fingers, trying to hide his displeasure.

"Was there something on it that I shouldn't eat?" the patient says, looking a little worried. "Like…you didn't wipe some disease all over it?"

"What seems to be the problem today?" Midorima asks over the man's voice.

"Oh." The man looks a little startled, staring intently at Midorima's fingers. "Um. I mean. I've been having chest pains, sensei. And they hurt a lot."

"I see." Midorima scribbles the symptoms down with a flash of expensive fountain pen. It was a gift from Akashi several years back after he graduated from medical school. "Do you have any other symptoms?"

"It's just intense chest pains," the man says, looking completely serious. Seriousness looks different on his face, or maybe it's that Midorima's first impression is of a rude guy who would eat someone else's lucky item. "Rapid heartbeats."

"I see. And when did these start?"

"Um. A few months ago."

Midorima glares at the man over his file. New patient or not, negligence will be rewarded with a severe Midorima look. "You waited months until you went to fix these symptoms? Chest pains are nothing to laugh at. You could be seriously ill. Please remove your shirt and allow me to examine you."

"Alright," the man says, chuckling and a little shakingly. He sits like an offering as Midorima runs his fingers down his bare chest. "My name's Takao, by the way. Takao Kazunari. What's your name, sensei?" His breath hitches as Midorima feels his way around his collarbone.

"Midorima."

"I know, I mean your first name." Takao pulls a pout, which Midorima supposes is supposed to be cute, but only serves to irritate him more. He doubts a little that Takao has any severe problem, if he's able to spout nonsense like this, but a doctor must always retain a sense of trust in his patient. "Your first name, your first name!"

Midorima finds nothing wrong in his examination and washes his hands again before he rewraps his fingers. "If you must know," he says, disgruntled, "it's Shintarou. Now I wasn't able to detect any physical abnormalities, but…"

"Shin-chan then!"

The nickname nearly makes Midorima splash water all over the counter, but he settles for making a mess in the sink. Takao is sitting on the table and grinning like a pleased cat. Midorima's always hated cats; ever since one scratched him, and the doctor told him cats can carry disease on their claws, he's always been distrustful of them. "…but I still should take some precautions. You don't have a history of heart disease in your family?"

"No."

Midorima doesn't want to admit it's stumping him a little. This requires more research. "I'll need to take some blood tests," he says, wracking his brain for a reasonable ailment; if it's been happening for several months, it cannot be a heart attack. Prolonged chest pains are often a symptom of something severe, but Takao looks just as cheery and energetic as someone in top health.

"Sure," Takao says happily, slipping back on his shirt. "Thanks for feeling me up, sensei!"

Midorima clears his throat. "It was a routine physical examination," he grounds out. "Please follow me to another room so I may take your samples and you can fill out some medical forms." Takao follows him through the empty building – the grandparents in the neighborhood tend to come in early and the younger generations have an irritating tendency to make calls at inconvenient times. Midorima lives above the clinic, so it's no big trip, but it's a hassle.

"Say, Shin-chan, you don't have anyone helping you out at the clinic?"

"No," Midorima says, collecting all the necessary supplies as Takao sits in the room and looks around.

"It must be hard," Takao says conversationally as the blood slips from his arm into the tube.

"I can handle it."

Takao sits on the counter as he fills out the medical forms and Midorima cleans up after him. He swings his legs and it hits the space beneath him with a steady beat that irritates Midorima. "You should come by regularly," Midorima advises. "Chest pains are major, and until I can diagnose your problem, I need to keep an eye on you."

"That's alright, Shin-chan!" Takao sings, handing over his paperwork with a big grin on his face. "I'll tell you what, though, sensei! How about I work as your receptionist? I don't have a medical background, but I can do anything you tell me to as long as you teach me how to do it! You work here all by yourself, and it must be tiring! I know I couldn't do it! I want to help, really!" He looks earnestly at Midorima. "That way you can also monitor me too."

Midorima doesn't want to agree. Takao looks inexperienced and over-enthusiastic. He's used to a quiet clinic so he can read during his lunch breaks. He has forgotten what silence sounds like since Takao came. But for all his babbling, the idiot has a good point; he still doesn't know what ails Takao, and daily watching will prove to be good. "Do what you want," Midorima sniffs. "I'm only agreeing because it's medically beneficial for you."

"Great!" Takao cheers. "I'll start tomorrow!"

[=]

Midorima's filing system is highly specific because he is a detail oriented individual. Not only are names ordered alphabetically, but also how long they've been a patient is also considered, along with if they have any illnesses. Family members are organized from oldest to youngest. Frequent visitors are placed in the front. He puts Takao in front of a computer just so the idiot doesn't mess up his filing, but of course, he does.

"Your way of putting them in order is confusing," Takao says after Midorima comes back bearing lunch. "So I reorganized them."

Midorima has enough patients that doing the filing again would be hasslesome. He sits in his office and locks the door so Takao can't join him and bounces his lucky item for the day – a safety pin – in his hand. So far, it hasn't brought him any luck at all.

Another habit of Midorima's is getting straight to business; when he enters the room, the patient is ready to tell him of their problems and he goes to fix them in the most efficient way possible. But with Takao as the receptionist, he chats them up and gets them talkative so that once Midorima comes in, they begin telling the doctor extraneous information and makes the day go longer. Extra chat is unnecessary but Midorima can't just tell people to be quiet.

Of course, not all of Takao's contributions to the clinic are negative. Sometimes Midorima forgets he's there, so he'll turn to get the supplies for a medical checkup and Takao will be standing there, bearing them with a foolish smile. Recording new data is finished at the end of the day because Takao's done it during visits. Although he's distracting, Takao makes the clinic feel less quiet and impersonal and Midorima sees it through the patients, who under the goading of Takao, put forth effort to understand the lucky items. At first, Midorima finds it annoying, but he knows that despite his technical behavior, he affects people's lives and he's quietly thankful they care enough for him to matter on a personal level.

It used to be, that when he closed up the clinic for the night, he'd lock the doors and turn off the lights and go upstairs and not even notice a thing, but now, Takao grins at him from the door and says, "See you tomorrow, sensei," and when Midorima heads to his room, he's aware of the buffeting silence in the wake.

[=]

"I heard you got a protégé," says Miyaji when Midorima visits the hospital in town. The sandy haired doctor smirks at him as Midorima heads toward the medical library. "And there he goes, the one who said 'I don't need anyone else'."

"The boy is not a protégé," Midorima scoffs, adjusting his glasses as Miyaji leers at him. "He knows nothing about medical procedure. He is merely assisting at the clinic. Nothing more."

"I thought you used to say you didn't need assistants."

"I don't. But he's special." Midorima clears his throat uncomfortably as Miyaji laughs. "Not like that, of course. He has a condition."

Miyaji perks up. "A condition? What is it? Something that the formidable Midorima-sensei is weak to?"

"Don't think nonsense thoughts. He has frequent chest pains. I reviewed his medical history and examined his blood samples, along with several x-rays. There seems to be nothing physically wrong with him at all, but he claims he still suffers from such pain."

Miyaji gives him a look. "Are you sure he isn't faking it?"

"What would he gain from faking symptoms like that?"

Miyaji shrugs. "I wouldn't know either. You're not a joy to be with. They must be pretty painful for him to suffer through constant contact with you too." He strides along with Midorima to the stuffy medical library. "Chest pains are pretty vague though, symptom-wise. They could mean a lot of things. But you say he's fine?"

"That's what makes it so mysterious."

"It could all be psychological," Miyaji muses. "Perhaps something in his past. Have you gotten him to see a psychiatrist?"

"Maybe." They reach the double doors of the library and Midorima turns to Miyaji, the light from outside catching on his glasses. "This is my case. Don't you have something to do, or are you being ridiculously overpaid here?"

"I wish I could throw a pineapple at you," Miyaji yells as Midorima saunters into the library.

[=]

One time after a brief meeting discussing the do's and don'ts of handling toxic material, Midorima finds Takao hunched over the reception area. "Are you alright?" he asks, coming right up behind him.

At first glance, Takao merely appears to be almost sleeping, his cheek against the files below his head, but he opens his mouth to softly say, "My chest hurts."

Midorima draws himself up to full height at once. At last, an exhibition of the symptoms. Takao has spoken of these chest pains, but until now, Midorima has never seen them happen before. He takes a clear note of everything around him. "What have you eaten today?"

"Other than the bento you bought for lunch, nothing." Takao sighs, and it sounds weary and lonely.

"I see." Takao is still doubled over on the desk, and Midorima gingerly tries to turn him around. "If you're feeling particularly bad, I have some ibuprofen in the back. Please allow me to examine you."

"No," Takao says, resisting and keeping his head down. "Don't touch me, Shin-chan. It'll go away."

"Don't be foolish, Takao," Midorima orders exasperatedly, forcing the swivel chair to spin around. "Your health is most important, after all." Takao's face is flushed. Midorima feels his forehead. It's slightly hot.

"Does it hurt more?"

"Yeah," Takao whispers, and he looks almost helplessly up at Midorima before shakily looking away and gathering his things. "I don't feel very well. I'm going home."

"Your chest pains…"

"I'll call you if they get worse," Takao rushes, and is around the reception area and at the door before Midorima can stop him. "Don't worry about me, Shin-chan. I'll be alright."

Takao doesn't show up for work for two days. At the end of day three, the paperwork has piled up because Midorima has already gotten used to Takao doing it, and in a frustrated rage, he calls the number Takao gives him and waits impatiently for an answer.

"Hello?" says a groggy, rough-sounding voice.

"I'd like to know what sort of foolishness you're up to right now."

There is a long pause. "Shin-chan? Why are you calling me?"

"I'll have you know that two days have passed and you haven't shown up at work. You have a lot of work to do. I hope your reason for skipping is better than my self restraint."

There is another long pause, before Takao begins laughing, which turns into a short cough. "I've been sick, Shin-chan. I think I have the cold that's going around. I had a fever that night when I left early, remember? I've been taking medication and I'm feeling a lot better. I'll be back immediately when it's gone so I don't get anyone else sick. I'm sorry, I should have told you sooner."

Midorima has nothing to say for a moment. Takao sounds positively awful, and there are very rare instances that he would skip coming into the clinic. "Is anyone taking care of you?" he asks awkwardly after the silence. "Should I come over?"

"I don't want you to get sick too!" Takao's laugh, albeit weak, is strangely welcoming to his ears. "I'm fine. Don't worry about me, right?" Midorima can almost see him making an unwelcome face when he says, "Were you thinking about me, Shin-chan?"

Midorima hangs up.

[=]

"You know, you talk really weird, Shin-chan!"

Takao is over because Midorima feels an obligation to show his thanks to someone who shows such a dedication to the clinic, except he forgets that he's actually terrible at cooking, so Takao ends up making their dinner, mercifully not teasing Midorima about how his precise methods in the medical field do not transfer in the kitchen. Midorima swallows a mouthful of rice as Takao points his chopsticks at him.

"What do you mean?"

"You have a little verbal tic sometimes…it's strangely appropriate but at the same time…"

"That's ridiculous."

"There!" Takao laughs, rocking backward as Midorima sits up straight across from him at the table. "You did it again. Don't you even notice? You say it sometimes and it's weird, but it's funny…nanodayo, don't you know you're saying it?"

"Please refrain from saying unnecessary things…" But Midorima makes pains to catch himself. The effort is noticed and Takao laughs about that too, but dinner passes easily despite the little conversational critique and Takao continues poking around the apartment above the clinic as Midorima does the dishes. He hears the plink of a piano key pressed and quickly dries his hands.

"I didn't know you played piano," Takao says as Midorima rushes into the room. His finger hovers right over the ivory key. The apartment is quite large for one in the suburbs, but the rent is cheap enough that Midorima doesn't need lodgers and has turned one of the bedrooms into a study, with several bookshelves, a desk, and a small, grand piano.

"Yes," Midorima mutters testily, his hand pushing up his glasses in a bit of a frenzy. "Please don't touch it if you don't know how to play it."

"Sorry." Takao steps away as if the piano is something sacred. Midorima goes to close the keyboard cover when Takao speaks up. "If it's not too troubling for the ace of the clinic, could you play something for me?"

Midorima has no time to entertain his receptionist's whims, but he hasn't played for days, the clinic has been busy. He could use a warm-up. The piano calms him. He sits down and shuffles through the sheet music sitting from the last play and picks the one in the front. It's a contemporary type, with enough difficulty to challenge him but nothing he can't master. It's slow and he takes his time, lovingly allowing his fingers to pick out the notes as he does examining patients.

Takao watches him from the door, and when Midorima finishes and looks up, he's got a troubled expression on his face. "Chest pains?" Midorima asks.

"A little," Takao admits.

Midorima closes the cover. "Stay the night," he orders, organizing the sheet music so he doesn't catch Takao's incredulous stare. He's had Takao journalize the times and severities of these chest pains, and by Takao's records, the pain often comes late evening and into the night. It would be good practice to keep Takao here for one night of observation. "It would be best for me to watch you for the night, if you are having these chest pains. You should find my place to be livable."

"That's not it," Takao says, a little amazed. "But the great Midorima-sensei having someone over? It feels like a great honor!"

Midorima gets out the spare futon and gets ready for the night as Takao rolls around in his bed, wearing a pair of Midorima's sweatpants that are rolled up several times at the waist. "Wow, Shin-chan, your bed smells like you!" Midorima turns off the lights promptly at eleven and does not answer when Takao tries to make conversation, except to ask if the chest pains are all right and if Takao can sleep through them. At some time around twelve, Takao finally falls silent and Midorima gets up, as a good doctor does, and recovers him with the blankets, which he has scattered all over the bed. With the carefree kind of expression on his face, no one would suspect Takao had any pain at all. Takao curls up and buries himself deeply into the sheets as Midorima pulls them up to his shoulders, mumbling something sounding suspiciously like Shin-chan and Midorima feels embarrassed, so he goes back to the futon and goes to sleep.

[=]

"So I saw you got a new addition to the clinic," Aomine says as Midorima patches up a scratch the cop received chasing after a purse-snatcher. Midorima doesn't know why humanity, as it appears, is so interested in him having Takao work at the clinic. He is not that introverted or antisocial. It's not that unbelievable.

He never really got along with Aomine even when they were in school, but now they're in a mutualistic relationship; Aomine sends scratched up victims to Midorima and goes to get fixed up to avoid doing it himself. They only really talked because of Akashi, who liked to collect talent to himself. Midorima clears his throat irritatedly. "So I have. What of it?"

"It's just unusual," Aomine shrugs. "He doesn't seem like he would work well with you." Takao spent ten minutes chatting animatedly with Aomine in the waiting room as Midorima finished seeing another patient. "He used to work around the neighborhood, you know. I saw him on rounds. He used to deliver papers around here, I saw him once when I had an early morning patrol. I was surprised when I didn't see him at the convenience store anymore." Midorima did not know this. "What kind of person is he, for you to take him under your wing?"

Midorima finishes applying ointment and checks the bandage patch. "He's a noisy sort of person. Butts his head into things that don't concern him. He tries his hardest on everything, which can be good or bad. He makes the patients more at ease, which I guess is a good thing. Smiles all the time. Are you satisfied?"

Aomine snorts. "He's pretty amazing, if he's grown on you like that." When Midorima looks at him, Aomine gives him a haughty look. "The old you would have probably said something like…he keeps up so that's good enough or something annoying like that."

"He has chronic chest pains," Midorima insists, feeling annoyed himself. "I'm only keeping him here because of that, nothing more."

"Sure," Aomine says, not sounding like he believes it. Midorima follows with a jab about Aomine's failing attempts at passes at their mutual friend Kuroko and Aomine storms out in a huff. Midorima washes his hands matter-of-factly. He's always been decent at pushing people's buttons, for some reason.

"Sensei," Takao says, appearing at the door with a big smile on his face and a friendly cock of his head. "Would you like me to clean up the room?" He's practically radiating, and for a moment, Midorima feels something in his chest constrict.

[=]

Takao is his last patient for the day, so the sun is gently setting from the window as Midorima listens to Takao's heartbeats on the examining table. "No changes in the chest pains?" Midorima asks, feeling frustrated at still being unable to diagnose Takao. It's been three months already. This is going to look terrible on his record.

"No," Takao hums, staring down at where the stethoscope is tracing a vague shape on his chest. "It's been the same."

Midorima jots down some notes on Takao's file as the man stares at him. "This could be a medical mystery," Midorima muses, hating to admit failure on his part. "I'll do my best to continue looking into the possible causes, but so far it's been all dead ends."

"Man proposes, god disposes, right?" Takao laughs, Midorima's signature motto sounding a bit ridiculous from his mouth. Midorima feels his chest tighten again mysteriously and scowls. "Sorry, did I hit a sore spot?"

"Well, I do have some new discoveries," Midorima announces, clicking his pen and slipping it back into the breast pocket of his lab coat. "It appears your chest pains may or may not be contagious."

Takao looks alarmed. "What?"

Midorima makes a displeased face. "As of late, I, too, have been feeling…some irregularities in my chest cavity, so it has led me to believe…"

"Um, sorry, Shin-chan, use plain words, please."

"I've been experiencing chest pains as well."

"Really?" Takao's alarm changes to interest. "Could you tell me about them?"

"There's nothing to tell. Of course, there's no way to tell whether they are the same at all, so…"

"It's painful," Takao interrupts, earnestly. "It's painful, but it's sweet at the same time. My heart beats really fast and my face gets flushed and I get excited. It's like something's squeezing my chest and I can't help but think about it and it hurts the most if I'm alone. Is it like that?" He talks really fast and his face is pink. It startles Midorima.

"It is…something like that." Midorima is on his feet, feeling a few steps away from a medical breakthrough.

"It's because of me, isn't it?" Takao asks. Of course, Midorima wants to say. You know me as well as I do and I've only been in constant contact with you, so such chest pains must originate from you. "I'll tell you the truth, sensei," Takao says, before Midorima can answer. "I lied. I lied about everything. I'm not sick. I've got a clean bill of health since my last checkup at the hospital. You see, I…I used to be a paperboy around the neighborhood. You're smart, Shin-chan, that's why you're a doctor even though you're still young, but I'm still trying to get my life together. Anyway, I used to see you all the time…setting up the clinic in the morning and…and I'm in love with you, Shin-chan!" Takao blurts this out with all the innocence of a middle school student. "So the chest pains are a bit of truth, but it's nothing medically pressing and I just made them a big deal so I could get to know you better."

Midorima doesn't say anything so Takao attempts to fill the silence. "Isn't that funny, Shin-chan? Ah…ha…wouldn't that be a great joke? Right?"

Takao jumps when Midorima sets down his file on the counter with a clatter. "I don't find that very funny at all," Midorima states, looking dead serious. Takao stares at him, his face flushed, and Midorima feels his chest hurt again when Takao reaches out and pulls him close for a kiss. He is rigid for a moment, feeling Takao kiss him desperately, but he reciprocates and kisses back with medical precision. If it is something he learned out of his first ever relationship, back in high school, it's how to kiss (although that relationship ended due in part to Midorima's intensity in being superior in things like kissing and dating).

"I want you," Takao breathes, when they break away, and Midorima can see through Takao's pants that he's hard. "Shin-chan, please…"

Takao whispers instructions and they do it in the examination room, a little quietly except for Takao's moans whenever Midorima hits his sweet spot. The lucky item for the day for cancers is lotion; "Today, you'll see someone with new eyes," the program said this morning. Takao lies there, a little dazed afterwards, as Midorima gets tissues to wipe them off.

"That was great," Takao mumbles, very happily. "Can we switch next time, Shin-chan? I wanna hear what you sound like…" He watches with hazy eyes as Midorima scribbles something off his file, probably about the chest pains. "Can I say over tonight?"

Midorima keeps his back to Takao, but Takao can tell from his stiff shoulders that he's composing himself. "Do what you want," Midorima sniffs.

[=]

Note: I'm not a medical student, so sorry for medical wrongness. I wanted to explore MidoTakao since I haven't really worked with that yet, and I'm not done with the future!AU yet...help...