A/N: This was another prompt from a tumblr writing meme
specifically: [Pairing of choice] One tending to the other's injury
Warnings: Language, and sliiiiiiight Munakata x Mikoto /Mikoto x Munakata, if you squint.
Disclaimer: Sushi*Bomb does not own [K] Project. This was written solely to entertain.
How he noticed the tiny red spot on Mikoto's wrist from across the dimly lit jail cell was unclear even to him. As much as he liked to downplay his flaws, his worsening eyesight was not one he could easily hide. Quite frankly, even with his glasses on, he was blind as a bat in that tiny room. But he noticed that, of all things.
He wanted so badly to attribute it to something as deep as his and Mikoto's intrinsic connection, due in part to their status as Kings. He wanted to be able to say that he noticed because even though Mikoto hid his pain well, he could not hide it from another like himself.
But in reality, it had much more to do with the fact that being alone with someone as volatile as Suoh Mikoto in such a confined space tended to make anyone hyper-vigilant. And Munakata was no exception, no matter how cool-headed he appeared on the outside.
Suoh was watching him, and had been from the moment the cell wall divided to let Munakata inside. He had been napping, of course, but even with lethargy making his movements sluggish as he sat up from the uncomfortable cot, his eyes still held that dangerous gleam that made Munakata's subordinates freeze mid-step.
Munakata often thought that staring Suoh straight in the eyes was the same as staring straight into Hell. The mind of the Red King was a violent and chaotic place; a lot like he imagined Hell would be.
He supposed it was a fortunate thing that he didn't believe in such a place.
It wasn't like he needed to; because he was sure that if he dared to get any closer to Suoh than he was presently, the red-haired man sitting in front of him would give him a perfect representation of Hell on Earth.
Munakata felt like he was edging closer and closer to a wounded animal…which, in many ways, he was. Suoh didn't exactly look like he was in pain; his face was deceptively blank, his body was still. But Munakata noted the ever so slight way Suoh tucked his arms closer to his body, his shackled wrists resting on his upper thighs rather than hanging languidly off of his knees the way they did when he sat in his normal slouch.
"How long has it been like that, Suoh?"
As expected, Mikoto didn't answer him right away. Instead, he smirked softly and let his eyes fall shut, faintly amused with the situation.
"How long's what been like what, exactly?" He retorted coolly after a moment. Munakata crossed his arms over his chest.
"Your left wrist," He began, motioning towards Mikoto's hands with a nod of his head, "It looks infected."
"Hn?" Mikoto made a semi-curious noise as he glanced down at his wrist.
"Oh that?" He said after a few seconds, "There's a splinter in there somewhere."
Munakata sighed. "Suoh, how the hell did you manage to give yourself a splinter from polished wood and metal?"
The look Mikoto gave him then was nothing short of pure, unadulterated mocking. Munakata hadn't even been sure that Mikoto could even make such a face, up until that point. With a smirk that showed a little more canine than Munakata found comfortable, Mikoto looked up at him.
"Well, what else is a guy supposed to do when he's locked in a jail cell all by himself?"
Munakata's eyes narrowed. It was meant to be a warning, not that Mikoto would heed it.
"I can't just spend the whole day sleeping, you know." He continued, staring Munakata dead in the eye, "Actually, it helps me fall back asleep afterward."
Munakata, in a display remarkably like his sour-tempered third-in-command, gave a disgusted click of his tongue. "How vulgar…" He muttered.
"Hn, it's not my fault these things are so flimsy. Aren't they supposed be able to withstand a little more than…" Mikoto trailed off with a tell-tale hand gesture that would've made any normal person sputter in embarrassment. Munakata, however, only stared at the seated man with a look of disdain.
"Suoh…I will leave you here to rot."
Mikoto ignored the warning, laughing to himself as he settled back against the wall. "Relax, Munakata. It was a joke."
Munakata's gaze still radiated nothing but judgement. "I'm sure. Regardless, why didn't you say something sooner?"
The Red King shrugged. "Didn't really care enough to. Shit doesn't even hurt."
"Is that right?" Munakata began as he closed the distance between them, and despite his initial trepidation, reached for Mikoto's wrist and gave it a rough squeeze. Of course, he hadn't been expecting any sort of visceral reaction from Mikoto; Suoh wasn't that weak, but he did notice the slight furrowing of Mikoto's eyebrows, which was all the sign he needed.
"First things first, I need to remove that splinter."
"Just pick it out."
"Not with my fingers, you neanderthal. That needs to be properly treated or it'll get worse."
Mikoto didn't say anything, instead closing his eyes with a frustrated sigh. He hated being fussed over.
Munakata, realizing that Mikoto's silence was his way of relenting, left the cell. The wall rearranged itself to shut behind him. Mikoto heard the measured footsteps fade away down the hall before disappearing completely. Munakata reappeared several minutes later with a medical kit, as well as the key to Mikoto's shackles, in hand.
"Scoot over." Munakata instructed, though he wasn't actually counting on Mikoto to readily shift to make space for him. To his surprise however, the Red King just slid to the side silently, leaving a wide space for Munakata to sit.
"Huh," Munakata began with a tired smile and a reflexive adjustment of his glasses, "It's not like you to be so obedient. I assumed I would have to shove you to the side."
Mikoto gave no response, aside from a half-hearted shrug.
Munakata sat down and popped open the kit, immediately searching for the set of metal tweezers and gauze. Mikoto watched him silently before staring back down at his wrist. It really didn't look that bad, aside from the clearly visible fragments of metal embedded in his skin. The surrounding area was slightly raised and reddish looking, but it didn't look too dire just yet. He supposed that was a good thing.
"Why are you doing this anyway?" He asked suddenly. Munakata calmly took hold of the large wooden shackles and unlocked the latch that held them fastened tightly over Suoh's wrists. They fell to the floor with a satisfying 'thud'.
"You gave yourself up willingly, so I assume you're not going to try and run away." Munakata said simply.
"Answer my question." Mikoto said, a noticeable edge in his tone. Munakata looked at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Because it may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but if you let them, those metal fragments can cause a massive systemic infection. I doubt anyone would find any humor in hearing that the fearsome Red King died of an infection caused by something as easy to treat as a few splinters."
Mikoto opened his mouth to speak before promptly closing it again. He had no rebuttal for that. Munakata had a point, as annoying as it was to admit it. He had unfinished business with someone out there who, as of yet, remained unidentified. He wasn't going to let something like an infection get in his way of avenging Totsuka's murder. There was a time to swallow your pride and accept assistance, and Mikoto assumed his time was now.
Though on a slightly more positive note, he realized, it was nice being able to move his hands freely for a bit. He had almost forgotten what it felt like, despite how short the duration of his captivity actually was.
"Besides," Munakata began suddenly, "It would be faster to do it myself, seeing as how I'm certain none of the medical staff will even dare to come near you if you're not chained down."
Mikoto smirked at that. "I guess that's true."
"Let me see it." Munakata said, holding his hand out. Mikoto looked at his hand for a moment before eventually easing his wrist into Munakata's grip. With the slight pressure of Munakata's fingertips pressing on his skin, the metal scraps felt much more prominent than before. The sudden agitation made the wounds sting.
And to add insult to injury, as if sensing his discomfort, Munakata gave him a sly look –sly for Munakata, that was- before giving his wrist another firm squeeze. Mikoto grit his teeth. He refused to give him the satisfaction of seeing his pain.
Who knew that a few little scraps of metal in his skin could hurt so goddamn bad?
"You bastard, you did that on purpose." Mikoto said, voice low and dangerous. Though in the end, it had no effect, sliding off Munakata like rain droplets in an umbrella. The Blue King simply gave him a small, mocking smirk that was meant entirely to confirm Mikoto's accusation.
Munakata's eyes slid back down to his wrist after a minute or so, studying the wound. He tapped each metal scrap gently with the tip of the tweezers, counting them. Mikoto watched the other man's lips move silently. "At first it appeared to be one, but there are actually eight pieces in total. Three large ones, and five smaller pieces."
Munakata reached into the medical kit next to him and pulled out a clear bottle. Alcohol.
"Aren't you supposed to do that after you pick all the pieces out?"Mikoto asked, side-eyeing Munakata apprehensively. Munakata just stared at him calmly as he tore the package open, looking akin to a mad doctor.
"No, Suoh, it's definitely before. You must clean the wound first for the antiseptic to work effectively." And with that, Munakata calmly poured half the contents of the bottle onto Mikoto's wrist.
Suoh prided himself on the fact that generally, he had a fairly high pain tolerance. This, however, was one of the few overwhelmingly unpleasant sensations that tipped that scale completely over. Mikoto let out a harsh pant of pain, biting his lip to keep from groaning out loud as his entire body tensed up, the pain searing up his entire arm. He swore he saw stars for a second.
Thankfully, it was over as quickly as it began, and when the pain subsided, his arm slackened in Munakata's grip.
"Oh wait," that irritatingly calm voice began, "I think you were right." Munakata turned to him, a completely unapologetic smile on his face. "I was supposed to clean it with soap and water first. Oh well, it got the job done well enough, I suppose."
Mikoto stared at him, still panting lightly. "Do-do any of your subordinates know," He let out a ragged sigh as another-albeit smaller than before- wave of pain coursed through his limb, "What a fuckin' sadist you actually are?"
"I don't know what you mean by that, Suoh." Munakata said, his tone entirely too light. Ignoring the dubious noise Mikoto made in response, Munakata prepped his tweezers.
"Now just relax, I'm sure this won't hurt a bit."
Munakata roughly yanked one of the bigger pieces out first. It stung, but not nearly as much as Mikoto expected it to. He settled back against the wall, relaxing slightly, his eyes still focused on the Blue King, who was hunched over his arm like a surgeon.
Apparent sadistic streak aside, Munakata was as he normally was, namely, quick and efficient. He plucked one of the smaller pieces out, followed by another. And then another. Even when it came time to pull the larger pieces, Mikoto barely felt it. For such a hard-assed man, he thought, Munakata was surprisingly adept with his hands. He watched with faint amusement at the way Munakata delicately twisted his wrist this way and that, making sure he got all the pieces out.
It must have been all of those puzzles he liked doing so much.
And despite the lingering burning sensation from the alcohol, Mikoto felt oddly relaxed. Something about sitting in silence with his friend and rival, letting him fuss over a wound that Mikoto himself didn't think was all that bad to begin with, it was…serene. Something he hadn't felt in a long while.
Munakata looked up briefly. "How did this happen?" He asked as he removed the last piece of metal. He let it fall into an open container in the medical kit, along with the other slightly bloodied pieces before setting the tweezers down next to it.
In his mind, he was weighing the pros and cons of revealing the fact that his nightmares as of late had been becoming darker and more violent. He hadn't gotten a full night's rest since he arrived at SCEPTER 4 Headquarters, and what little sleep he got in the day time was still plagued with the occasional bad dream.
Munakata's eyes were locked on his. He knew that Munakata would know that he was lying. He also knew that Munakata would press him until he told the truth. And Munakata could be annoyingly persistent when he wanted to be.
It just wasn't worth it.
"I had a nightmare." Mikoto said after a moment. Munakata's expression didn't change.
"Are your nightmares violent?"
"Violent enough to hurt yourself?"He said quietly.
Mikoto held up his slightly bleeding wrist. "This speaks for itself, don't you think?"
Munakata sighed, nodding in agreement as he reached for the antiseptic cream and a roll of gauze. He carefully applied a thin, neat layer of the antiseptic before slowly wrapping Mikoto's wrist.
"Suoh," Munakata began, his expression and tone serious, "In regards to what you've been seeing in your dreams, I won't pry. But I will say this." He looked up. "If these dreams are becoming so extreme that you managed to damaged your restraints, then perhaps…"
"That's enough, Munakata."
The Red King's clipped tone left no more room to approach the topic. With a tired nod, Munakata let the discussion drop and finished wrapping Mikoto's wrist and set it down. Mikoto lifted his arm up, flexing his hand, testing the bandages out.
He wasn't expecting a 'thank you' of any sort, so Munakata silently collected the medical kit and stood from the cot. He was nearly out the door when Mikoto's voice stopped him.
The Blue King looked over his shoulder. "What is it?"
"You could've been a surgeon. You're pretty damn good with your hands." Mikoto said quietly, a faint smirk curling his lips. After a moment, a similar smirk crept onto Munakata's face. He stepped outside the doors, letting them rearrange themselves into their locked mode.
"Believe me, Suoh, you have no idea." He said quietly.
At that, Mikoto, who had been steadily laying himself back down, looked back up at Munakata, his face blanking momentarily before letting out a smooth chuckle. He should've known that Munakata wouldn't leave without giving him a taste of his own medicine first.
"Those bandages should suffice, so I trust you'll heal quickly. I suppose that you'll have to make due without your hands cuff though, seeing as how your restraint will need to be upgraded to something a bit more durable."
He heard Mikoto make a half-hearted noise of agreement before the other man's breathing quickly evened out. It was amazing how fast Mikoto could fall asleep.
Munakata's eyes narrowed as he walked out of the cell block and into the headquarters. Or perhaps it was a testament to how exhausted the Red King truly was. Whatever was plaguing him in his dreams was never-ending, like a splinter lodged deep in his mind. It wasn't something that could be dealt with while he was awake. He chose to tackle it head-on.
Munakata supposed that in that respect, he would've been more help to Suoh if he was simply there to dislodge the physical remnants of his previous night's battle.
Or at least, distract him from his thoughts for awhile.
Mikoto wouldn't say it outright, but Munakata inherently understood that his efforts were appreciated.
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