"Please stop fidgeting."
Shuu hesitated, and then calmed down altogether. The soft, sad quality to Nanaki's voice stopped him. It was a like a very defeated, drowsy pleading, and something about it, in light of all the things that had come out into the open these past few weeks, gripped Shuu in a way he couldn't quite describe. He settled in the wheelchair and turned his head away from the quail.
"Was that so terrible?" Said Nanaki, as he went to work changing the bandages on Shuu's chest, carefully inspecting each of the bullet wounds in turn.
Shuu peeked at him out of the corner of his eye. "You understand I am a doctor, don't you? I'm perfectly capable of taking care of myself."
Nanaki didn't say anything, but continued on to apply fresh bandages. He was smiling, but he looked a little sad, or perhaps just a mite tired. Shuu couldn't tell.
"Why are you doing this?" The doctor murmured, his brow drawn in. He was irritated and confused, but maintained an even tone all the same. "I've made your life a living hell, have I not? I've destroyed or otherwise taken the lives of your students. I've subjected your very brother to a torment that drove him to suicide."
Nanaki paused, still touching the newly applied bandages ever so gently. He stared at the healing wounds in silence. Shuu chanced another look at the teacher, but couldn't read his expression. He looked away again, and continued. "You could have easily ended me down there, but you didn't. I can understand some kind of moral code or good will could have accounted for that, but why would you go through the trouble of taking care of me now?"
They were silent for a long time and sat very still, Shuu sitting ridged in the wheelchair, looking off to his left, and Nanaki kneeling before him, looking at his bandaged chest with half-closed eyes. The silence was deafening.
"Well," Nanaki said, after what seemed an eternity of obnoxious quiet. "Because you and I are one in the same, Iwamine."
That prompted a small, unintentional gasp from Shuu, who looked down at the quail in surprise. He searched for words, but none came, and then Nanaki looked up at him, his soft brown eyes warm and drowsy and begging. It occurred to Shuu for the first time why it was called eye contact.
"Us? Alike?" He asked in the most level voice he could manage, a voice that came out in something just barely stronger than a whisper.
Nanaki smiled up at him gently, which somehow struck Shuu as terribly sad.
"Driven to violence and insanity by the loss of the person we loved most." He said simply. A soft, sad laugh escaped him, and his eyes fell away from Shuu's. "We're more alike than either of us care to admit. I'm no better than you are, doctor. I've been falling apart for years, and now the rest of the world seems to be crumbling along with me. I figure….I figure that when you're as broken as I am, the only thing you can do is try to hold onto someone who's just as broken as you are, and pray that maybe somehow all the shattered pieces of who you were will fit together somehow and perhaps you'll come out the other side still standing."
Shuu stared down at in disbelief. He didn't know what to say to him, or even if he shared his beliefs. The part of himself that was aware of the morality is actions so clearly lacked doubted any possibility of him ever being 'fixed' as Kazuaki had put it. He was damaged beyond repair. Ryuuji had damaged him beyond repair. But whether or not that was true, whether or not he could be repaired, he knew deep down that the words Nanaki spoke came from a very real and tender place within him.
Shuu weighed his options internally. He did not believe in this 'redeemable' fairytail that Nanaki seemed to hold so dearly, but a small part of him wanted to, if only for Nanaki's sake, who clung to hope in a way that was both desperate and half-hearted. He wanted to fix Shuu and himself by supporting one-another.
Iwamine Shuu made his decision.
He reached out and pulled Nanaki into a gentle but all the same reassuring embrace, burrowing the teacher's head into his neck. He could not bear to make eye contact with him in that moment, for some mix of pride and embarrassment, but held him close regardless. "You are terribly good-natured." He said gruffly.
There was a moment of hesitation before Nanaki fell into his embrace, soft and giving. "Thank you." The teacher whispered, almost to himself.
Shuu closed his eyes. Even as a doctor I do not believe that I can fix you, Kazuaki Nanaki. He thought. But I believe that I can be your crutch.