Nana: Hello! This is my first offering to the Free! Fandom. I've obligated myself to write at least one sickfic of any fandom I get into, so this is one of those. Here, Rei gets a cold, and Haru and Makoto argue over whether that means he should swim or not. There are no pairings unless you count Haru and Makoto arguing like an old married couple. Anyway, I hope that you'll enjoy the story, and let me know what you think!
"I came to inform you that I won't be participating in club activities today," says Rei, arms wrapped around his torso, head bowed low. The other members of the swim club are standing by the pool in their swimsuits, snapping on goggles on spreading on sunscreen. Despite the late spring weather, Rei is wearing his winter school uniform. He is also wearing a sanitary mask. These two things should render his reasoning apparent, but Nagisa flits over to him, demanding to know why.
"Let me guess—you have a dentist appointment! No, wait, you're meeting with the prime minister of the USA. Does the USA have a prime minister?" Rei shakes his head. "Are you teaching a group of underprivileged children how to build marionettes? Do you not want to swim with meee?" Eyelashes fluttering, arm being pulled. "Rei-chan, answer me!"
"None of those things," says Rei, wrenching his arm away. "I'm sick, so I don't think it's a good idea for me to get in the pool. That's all." He turns toward the gate to cough harshly into his elbow, then turns back to look blearily at his friends. Makoto's eyebrows knit with concern, while Haruka stares at Rei, arms crossed.
"Awww, Rei-chan!" Nagisa says. "I'm sorry, that sucks! Is there anything I can do to help? You want me to come over and take care of you?"
"Thank you, but that isn't necessary. I'll just be going home now." Rei starts plodding toward the exit, but before he gets halfway there Haruka is grabbing him, gathering his jacket sleeve into a wrinkled bunch. "Can I help you?" asks Rei.
"What's wrong with you?" asks Haruka. "Whatever it is, you came to school, so there's no reason you can't swim too, right?"
Sniffling, Rei says, "I have a cold. It's not serious, but I don't think it would be good for me to submerge myself in cold water."
"Agreed," says Makoto, eyes briefly flicking toward Haruka. "You'll definitely recover more quickly if you go home and get some rest."
"Getting in the water will probably help though," says Haruka, letting go of Rei's jacket. He walks over to the pool, sits down, and dangles his feet over the edge. "Whenever I'm sick, that's the first thing I do to feel better."
"That's the first thing you do for any reason, Haruka-senpai," croaks Rei. He doesn't want to have this conversation, he just wants to go home and collapse into bed. His throat feels like he swallowed a handful of thumbtacks, his head is exploding, his nose is an impenetrable fortress of misery and snot, and worst of all, he looks hideous. Unlike Haruka, who somehow managed to get through his own recent cold looking no less beautiful than always, Rei is blatantly and obviously sick. His eyes are bloodshot and ringed with bags of exhaustion, his lips are chapped, and his nose is swollen and iridescent. He isn't beautiful, he's barely even presentable right now. He wants to go home.
He shuts his eyes, sighs heavily, and tells Haruka that if water was going to help, it would have done so when he took a bath last night.
"Baths are good, but I'm talking about actually swimming," says Haruka.
"Well," says Makoto, sidling up next to Haruka and dunking his own feet into the pool. "There is something to be said for doing your favorite thing when you don't feel well. But, Rei, I really don't think you should swim. Overworking yourself and getting wet and cold will probably just make things worse."
"I agree, which is why I'm going home." Makoto doesn't appear to have heard him. He says, "I mean, Haru got sick because he went swimming, remember that?" He jostles Haruka lightly in the side with his elbow.
"Right, but I hardly had any symptoms, and that's because I kept swimming afterward. I was basically fine, just sneezing a little more than usual. I would have been much sicker if I'd listened to you and stayed out of the water." Haruka crosses his arms, and kicks at the water, splashing Makoto in the leg. Rei sighs, shoving his glasses up the aching bridge of his nose. It's hard to keep them on while he's wearing the mask, and when his nose keeps twitching and sniffing against his will.
Makoto sighs too, and tells Haruka that he's lucky he didn't wind up with pneumonia. Haruka insists that he might have wound up with pneumonia if he hadn't kept swimming. "That doesn't make any sense!" insists Makoto. "You're totally reckless with your health, Haru. When you're sick, what you need to do is rest. And eat things other than mackerel. Please, please, actually listen to my advice for once, okay? I worry about you. I worry about your diet. Your mother worries, and she calls my mother, and then it's my business whether I want it to be or not." Haruka snaps that he eats things other than mackerel, and at that point Nagisa grabs Rei's arm and pulls him toward the gate exit.
"Why does everyone keep grabbing my arm? It's going to end up getting dislocated."
"Sorry, you're right. But don't worry about that now, okay? Just get out of here while Mako-chan and Haru-chan are distracted." Rei nods. Makoto is delivering a speech about proper nutrition, and both he and Haruka and totally ignoring Rei. He waves Nagisa a brief goodbye, then heads for the door. Two steps away, he's stopped by a massive itch in his overburdened sinuses. Not wanting to drench his sanitary mask with the contents of his nose or call attention to himself, Rei pinches his nose closed and tries not to sneeze. When it becomes obvious that this isn't going to work, he digs through his pockets for the tissues he stashed there earlier. Before he can find them, he sneezes, loudly and violently, soaking the inside of his mask.
The noise prompts Haruka and Makoto to look up from their bickering. Before either of them can say anything, Rei bolts through the gate door, and slams it shut behind him.