Character list: Isao Hironori (Morry), Yoshihiro Renge (Mani Mani)
Total words: 6864 words.
Summary: Hiro is bedridden with heavy fever after his gathering at the ryokan with his teammates. Fortunately, Renge comes to his house to take care of him and helps him to recover.
Trigger warning: none. (EXTREME FLUFF. Bring a pillow or something you can hug to read this.)
*Fondu is a classical ballet term meaning “sinking down.” It describes both the movement and the quality of a dancer where they are doing a plié on a single leg.
Cover by Mani.
And so here he is, laying down weakly on his bed for two days straight. Hiro already informed the school about his absent. He feels so helpless; his aunt is out of town with her fiancé, so cannot ask her for help. The food is almost out of stock, plus, he cannot cook.
Thing like this really makes him kind of desperate.
Though, he already takes some medicine left by his aunt. A simple paracetamol. Hiro is pretty sure a moderate dose of it will less work for a heavy fever like this, but at least it could lessen the headache a little. Still, he feels so weak that if he walk, his head feel like spinning.
Hiro sighs heavily. Probably he'll get some more sleep and hope he will just get better when he wake up.
"Hmm, this should be the place..."
Renge finds herself standing in front of Hiro's house, with class notes, medicine and food on hand.
It's been two days since her classmate is bedridden with cold, Renge can't help but be worried with his condition. She wants to come the day before but there were some stuffs that she needs to do.
Renge sent Hiro a text about her arrival but she hasn't got any reply. Maybe he's too sick to open his phone?
She rings the doorbell and waits.
What is that sound? His doorbell rings?
Hiro half frowns half scowls. Who on earth is ringing his house's bell? If it's his aunt, well, she never ring the bell, she just comes in right away. Then who is it? He rarely brings friend to his house, so only a few knows where his house resides. But who could that be? What are they coming for?
Now he's fully frowning and he tries to get up. The boy grunts from the headache, probably because he lays on the bed too long. Then he stands up slowly and walks to the wide window, peeking at the guest.
He sees a familiar long, ginger-colored hair, with a red ribbon. Her stature is also known to him.
Renge? He frowns deeper. What is she doing here? How does she know his house?
Shrugging, Hiro slowly makes his way downstairs, and when he reaches the door, he opens the door slowly, revealing Renge standing in front of his house.
He's quite messy. He's using button-down black shirt with two first buttons are open and black boxers. His hair is pretty disheveled and his eyes have black ring under them.
The boy only stares at Renge silently with droopy eyes.
"Good day, Isao-kun! Oh my God, you look horrible." Renge says out of concern. "I texted you before coming here but you didn't reply, I guessed you were sleeping.... So I asked sensei instead for your address."
She opens one of her bag to reveal papers. "Here are the notes for the subject you missed."
Wait, she did? He didn't notice his phone rings for the message notification. He guesses he missed it out. Hiro receives the papers Renge gives to him. It's actually not necessary, but well, maybe they can be useful. He shrugs inwardly.
The girl looks at Hiro's weary face again. "Have you eaten? I bring some food and medicine too--"
Hiro stares back at Renge and glances at the food and medicine he brings. Then his eyes back at her. His mind is pretty sluggish, so it takes time for him to take that all in.
"Thank you... Yoshi." His voice is rather husky and sore, more heavy than usual. "And... no, not yet."
He steps aside to give Renge a way to enter his house, but then he looks at her again. "Do you want to come in, or you... just want to give me those?" He asks heavily.
"Sure thing! You look like you need a lot of rest, so let me heat these up for you." Renge steps inside and then looks at Hiro again.
"I'll be borrowing your kitchen then, just go back to your room and rest! I'll bring them to your room later."
Hiro nods slowly as he closes the door. "The kitchen is... in there." He says as he points his finger to his left. "I'll keep my room's door open... then. It's in upstairs." Then the boy walks listlessly to his room.
When he reaches the bed, he slams his body to the soft mattress. He closes his eyes as he thinks that he's glad Renge is here.
After rummaging the kitchen for a bit, Renge finally finishes heating up the food. She brings some warm porridge, soup and cut up some apples into bunny shape.
She's glad she actually brings some food because the fridge is almost empty and it's mostly instant food. She begins to worry about the boy's nutritional intake.
Renge put the plates on the tray, she also takes a glass of water and some medicine. The girl then goes upstairs.
She spots the open door and lets herself in. "Excuse me..." Renge then sees Hiro sprawls helplessly on the bed. She calls him out softly.
"The food is here." She sets the tray on the night stand by the bed.
He opens his eyes slowly as he hears Renge calls out to him. Hiro gets up rather lazily, leaning himself on the divan with pillows stack before it and pulls the duvet to cover his legs.
He stares at the tray of food Renge puts on the night stand. They look warm and the soup smells good. And the bunny apples. Hiro pulls a small smirk looking at it. It brings nostalgic memory when his mother is still here.
His eyes move to the girl. "Thank you." He glances at the food for a moment, then back to Renge. "As much as I want to... eat, my head is quite... hazy for me... to even... focus myself to... eat." He speaks slowly. "So... feed me?" He smirks and tilts his head rather cutely.
Hiro is starting to get to his spoiled side. Whenever he gets sick, he also gets more demanding. Moreover, it's Renge whom in front of him now.
Renge laughs a little at Hiro's demand. It's kind of cute seeing him needy like this.
"Okay, I'll borrow your chair for a bit." She goes to pull a chair from his study desk and moved it beside the bed.
Renge holds the tray on her lap, then she takes a spoonful of the porridge and blows on it several times so it will be easier to eat.
Renge brings the spoon to Hiro’s mouth. "Here you go, say ahh~"
Hiro chuckles lightly. Though it wasn't a lie, he actually could eat by himself, but it's going to be... very slow. But instead, she takes it seriously.
Well, it's not that he won't refuse this.
The boy opens his mouth and eats the porridge from the spoon. It's very warm. It's really good. His insides get the heat back a bit from the food as he swallows.
Hiro stares at Renge expectantly, waiting for another spoon.
Renge chuckles and takes another spoonful. "Another one coming right up~"
The girl lets out a relieved sigh when her classmate finished all his porridge and soup. She's getting a little sore from all that feeding.
"Do you feel better now?" She offers the apples to the boy. "By the way Isao-kun, have you been eating right? I saw your fridge and it's pretty horrid. Nutrients are also important for full recovery!" She says with a concerned look.
Hiro pulls up a little smile. "Yes. I feel a bit... warmer now." Though his head still feels like spinning and his vision is a bit blurry. He's pretty sure his blood pressure is really low right now. He hasn't been eating properly and not doing his daily morning run this recently.
As like she's speaking out his thoughts, he snorts softly. "I've been laying down all day... on my bed. I usually order take out... for dinner. My caretaker... my aunt, is out of town now." He takes one slice of the apples, and then leans more on his pillows, almost laying down. "I usually get... some sleep to recover. I also already... drank a medicine." He finishes with a shrug and eats the whole slice of the apple.
Caretaker? So he doesn't live with his parents? It's a little irresponsible of them to just leave a sick person to care for themselves like this.
"I should've come sooner if I knew you live alone like this." She utters worriedly. "And since I’m here now, I'll do anything in my power to make you feel better!" Her eyes look determined. "Well if sleep and medicine doesn't help, maybe the body needs more nutrients." She says thoughtfully. "It’s fine to eat take outs but when you're sick like this, you ought to eat something more... healthy."
Renge reaches out to touch Hiro's forehead to check his temperature. It's still pretty hot, maybe she should check it with thermometer. "Have you checked your temperature yet? Also your clothes is getting a little damp from the sweat so it would be better if you change into a new one."
It's a bit touching for him that Renge is really concern of his health. He couldn't really rely on his aunt since she's pretty busy, and the last one who really cares about him is his mother. Though, he have to admit that his aunt was the only one who's there when he was emotionally wrecked after his mother's death. Hiro feels grateful that he can finally find someone who he can demand.
The boy shakes his head lightly. "The thermometer is inside the... kitchen's drawer. Too lazy to get it... downstairs. Besides, I don't really care that... much."
Then he stares at Renge, pouting a little. "I would like to... change my clothes. But I'm too lightheaded to even... take off my shirt." He smirks, "Would you... help me?"
Renge is a little surprised when Hiro asks her to take off his clothes. But, well, she should've known.
Though she can't help but smile at this, it feels like she's taking care of a spoiled child. Renge pats Hiro's head and giggles. "Okay, okay. You're acting like a baby, Isao-kun."
Renge gets up and goes for the door. "I'll go get the thermometer and some ice for your compress, so wait for a bit!"
The boy chuckles when Renge pats his head. Though it may seem comforting, but he feels a little sorrow, because all of this reminded him of his loving mother. When Renge goes outside the room, he frowns grimly.
As he lays his body fully down to the bed, he thinks if this is a good decision for Renge to come here and take care of him. He really missed his mother so much that he feels a little bit blue.
Renge is back at the room with the thermometer and a bowl of water on hand. She puts the stuffs on the night stand. "Okay, so uhh... Where can I take some towels and change of clothes? It would be rude of me to just rummage around your room..." The girl mutters.
When Renge comes back and asks for things, Hiro turns his head to his right, looking at his wardrobe. "You can find... everything there. Towels and clothes." He replies rather weakly.
Renge goes to the wardrobe and takes several towels and a change of clothes. After setting it down on Hiro's bed, Renge whips out the thermometer and checks Hiro's temperature by his armpit.
When the beep sound heard, Renge takes the thermometer and reads the degree. "It's....39.8 degree Celcius!?" Renge exclaims, a little panics. "Oh my God, Isao-kun, you need to rest again, but let's change your clothes first!"
...39.8 degrees Celsius? Huh. No wonder his head feels so heavy and feels rather sluggish. He should have gone to the hospital, but... Well.
Renge reaches for Hiro's shirt and starts to unbutton it. Thankfully, she's composed enough to not freak out at the sight of Hiro's naked upper body, though his body is... Really nice.
Renge quickly shoos the thought away and reached out for one of the towel, then she starts to gently wipe Hiro's sweat.
"Wow, slow down..." Hiro gently holds Renge's hand, halting her from wiping his body. Why is she the one panicked when he's the one who's sick here? "Let me... sit up first..." Then he shifts his body to get his body sits up, and he groans from the heavy headache. He slowly take his shirt totally off and put it aside. His scent of earthy rosewood reeks from his sweaty body.
"Alright," he pants, a little bit wearier. The boy smirks as he let go of Renge's hand, "Please, continue."
Renge can't help but blush a little when Hiro takes off his own shirt slowly like that. His skin is flushed and glistening with sweat. Yet the masculine scent that comes from his body makes Renge even redder.
"O-okay!" She continues slowly wiping his sweat.
As Renge is wiping his chest, Hiro stares at her. Their proximity is quite close that he can hears her breath. Though he can also sense a faint awareness coming from her, he brushed it off. He needs her presence, so why he must be aware of her?
There are strands of hair that hinder her face a bit. Hiro silently brings a hand to the strands and softly brushes them to behind her ear. He eyes at the girl in front of him intently, straight at her eyes.
How can I be vigilant of you when you're vulnerable like this? Hiro thinks forlornly. She might already witnessed who he was back at the dark hour, yet here she is, in his house, alone. Couldn't she feel a little bit cautious of him?
Renge is pretty focused on wiping until Hiro tucked her hair and stares at her.
"Is... everything okay?" She asks, concern clear in her eyes.
Hiro keep staring at her for several moments. The hand which still hovering on her hair moves to her face and strokes her cheek.
Is he really worth of her concern, he wonders? What did he do to deserve all of this?
She feel her cheeks warms with the touch. She wonders why Hiro likes to touch her face that much.
"I'm...," Hiro speaks and stops midway. "... just feeling lightheaded." He smiles faintly and he pulls his hand away from Renge's face.
Listening to his remark worries her. "Oh no, we really should get you to rest ASAP!" She looks even more concerned now.
Renge quickly finishes up her job, then she takes a new piece of towel. "Okay, I'm done with the front. Let's wipe your back now!"
Hiro chuckles at Renge's enthusiasm on taking care of him. Though it's a bit different than his mother, his insides warms at the sentiment.
"Okay." The boy goes to straighten himself up from the leaning position... only to falls limply to Renge. His head is laid on her shoulder.
"Ah... Sorry," Hiro mumbles. "My head feels like... spinning." Even though he says sorry, he doesn't move his position, still clinging on the girl. His back is actually exposed like this.
She is surprised when Hiro suddenly falls and leans to her. She thought he passed out, but it seems like he just want to be coddled.
Renge pats his head again and smiles at him. "Well if you're comfortable like this." Then she continues to wipe the sweat on his back.
He hums in comfort as Renge pats his head and start to cleanse his back. And while she's wiping, his fingers playing with her hair.
Hiro is really comfortable with Renge's company that he might ask her to stay here with him. At least until he's recovered. But of course he cannot do that, can he? Even though if he will really ask her, he can already guess the answer.
Well. If she does agree, he might be won't be coming to school... ever again. Since her parents will probably kill him.
Renge can't hold her smile when Hiro plays with her hair as she wipes him up.
It's therapeutic, to be honest. She remembers those times when she has to take care of Tsubaki because her parents are out of town. Her little brother used to be so cute. (Technically he's still cute, but his teasing habits infuriates her.)
After she's done wiping, Renge pats his back and ruffles his hair softly. "Done! Time to change your clothes."
Hiro whines lowly when Renge finishes cleansing his back and ruffles his hair. He clings more to her by putting more of his body weight on her and circle his arms around her waist.
"Don't wannaaa..." Hiro wails on her shoulder.
If it's in normal situation (as in he's not horribly sick), he wouldn't be acting like this.
"Aww come on now, Isao-kun! You won't recover if your body is exposed to cold like this." She pats his back again.
The boy chuckles, hearing Renge's respond and pats his back. Still clinging to her and his head on her shoulder, he speaks with a bit whiny tone, "You will help me... wearing my clothes, right?"
He actually knows she will, but he just wants to get more attention.
"Yes, yes, you big baby." She jokes. "Now let's wear your clothes then get some sleep, okay?"
"Okaay." Hiro replies lazily, but he doesn't budge from her.
"Come on now, Isao-kun, you can be lazy all you want later." Renge tries to push him to sit up straight.
Despite the heaviness of his head, Hiro laughs lightly when Renge pushes him. Then he pulls himself sluggishly from her and winced a bit from the headache.
When he finally leans himself back to the pillows, he stares at the girl quietly with a faint smile on his face.
When Hiro finally untangles himself from her, Renge reaches out for the T-shirt she took earlier from his wardrobe. "Okay, now hands up!" She says, holding the hem of the shirt.
Hiro scoffs softly with a smirk as he follows what Renge told him to, raising his arms rather slowly.
Renge stands up and put the shirt on him successfully. Then she gestures him to lay down. "Okay, now just lay down, Isao-kun! I'll put some compress on your forehead."
"Alright." Hiro answers as he lay his body down to the mattress.
Although his head feels like hell and his body feels... not so good, his mood is brighter as ever with Renge is here. He wonders if she didn't take a peek at him at the studio back then, would she still here, nursing him when he's sick?
Renge takes a smaller piece of cloth and drenches it in the bowl of ice water. Then she squeezes the excess water and put it on Hiro's forehead.
"Done! Now just relax and sleep, Isao-kun, you should feel better after this." She speaks again, giving him another smile. "Maybe I should get back now so you can focus on recovering."
Hiro shivers and winced from the cold of the towel on his head. When Renge says she wants to get back, he immediately grips Renge's hand firmly. He just stares at her quietly, silently telling her to stay. Stay a little bit more, at least.
Renge eyes widen when Hiro suddenly grips her hand, but then she just smiles at him.
She giggles at him. Hiro is being very cute right now. "Okay, I'll stay until you fall asleep." Renge pats his head again, she feels like spoiling him a little more.
"Anything else you want me to get before you sleep? A glass of water maybe?" The girl offers.
Hiro purrs when Renge pats his head. He's really getting fond of her affection dangerously that he might really ask her to stay with him for the night. Well, not for anything... funny. He just craves for her affection.
The boy shakes his head slowly at her. He just keeps his hand holding her wrist.
"Okay, then." Renge smiles at him and stays like that. Her fingers are tapping the bed as she wait for Hiro to fall asleep.
Hiro feels at ease when he knows Renge decided to stay a bit longer. Though probably, she might want to wait for him until he wake up for her to be able to go home. And even though he feels more relaxed and his eyes feel heavy, there is no hint of sleepiness. He feels so weary that it bothers him so much that he cannot even sleep.
It reminds him when he was in his depressed state. It was a nightmare, his emotion was wreaking havoc to the point that he almost wanted to end his own life. Remembering those memories, he unconsciously gripped Renge's wrist tighter.
He blame his own father for this.
She's a little surprised when Hiro grips her hand a bit tighter. She wonders if he's hurting somewhere.
"Are you okay?" She asks, patting his head again.
Hiro looks at the girl beside him. Come to think of it, she comes all the way here just to nurse him reminds him of the incident that happened back in the studio at 3AM. Maybe... he should ask her about it, since they're all alone here.
"Yoshi...," Hiro mutters rather weakly. "Were you... the one who covered me... with towels back at the... studio?"
Renge feels her heart stops with that question. She's been putting that incident on the back of her mind. She wonders if she should just come clean to him, and admit that she knows about his 'other self'.
But Renge's still unsure about this. For now, she will just dodge the question.
"Hmm..? What are you talking about, Isao-kun?" She puts up a relaxed front so she won't look too obvious.
She dodges it. And Hiro expected it.
Even though she avoids the question, he already guessed that it was her. This awareness feeling he's having now with only both of them in this room... well, who else could it be?
Hiro wants to point that out, but he's too weak and lightheaded to make arguments and long conversation.
So he just closes his eyes and sighs quietly.
Then Hiro thinks that if it's really her, what will he make out of that? He remembers the sparring session back then with Shenji and Aru, because apparently there is other like them but different power. And his talk with Shimamura back at the ryokan. If she's one of them... would it make her his enemy?
He cannot be sure about that yet, he still doesn't know who Renge is siding. But the thoughts of him have to face against her because he will chase down his own father making him... a little bit scared.
Hiro shifts his hand from holding her wrist to entangle his fingers with her and grasp it firmly. He needs more comfort because his thoughts beginning to give him about things he never wished for.
When she hears the boy sighed, Renge panics for a bit. Does he know that she's lying? Until Hiro holds her hand tightly.
She's not really sure what to make out of this. Typically, Hiro would press further about this, but maybe because he's sick, so he can't.
Renge returned the gesture, holding his hand tightly also. For now she just want to make him feel better.
"Are you having hard time sleeping?" She asks, her fingers now tapping on his hands. "Should I sing you a lullaby, maybe?" She humors.
There are butterflies swarming in his stomach when Renge returned the grasp and taps his hand. Now, he really demands for more.
Hiro laughs lightly at Renge's offers. It's not like he refuse it, but... well, since she's here and they're all alone, he wants to take more... or even everything from her. While he can.
And of course, he would give. God, he would give everything for her and her only. But he somehow have a hunch that they won't be like this, being comfortable at each other for a long time.
Just because of their differences in kind of power they have, their sides, their perspectives. Hiro winced inwardly.
And before that happens, he wants to take everything he can get from her.
He faintly smiles at Renge. "Sure. But... before that," he tightens his grip, "Can I ask for something more?"
"Hmm sure, what do you need?" Renge asks, tilting her head a little.
He smirks and tugs her hand gently. "Kiss me?"
Renge blinks at the question, then her face immediately becomes beet red. "E-eh? K-kiss?" She stutters as she asks him to confirm if she heard it right.
Hiro chuckles when she asks it again. "Yes." A pause. "Just on my... forehead. Except if you... want to get my... fever too, then I won't refuse... on the mouth either." His smirk widens.
She unconsciously hits Hiro's shoulder (lightly of course, he's a sick person). How can he ask it shamelessly and easily like that? Hiro's antics never ceases to confuse her.
But she did say... She'll do anything for him today and she's not one to break promises.
Renge closes her eyes and breathes hard. "I-I-- I need a moment to prepare." Her grip on Hiro's hand also tightens.
The boy chuckles again. His thumb brushes the back of her hand gently. Though he craves for her, he will be really patient and would wait for her. And the thought that she will really do it warms his heart that he smiles, even though just on the forehead.
Hiro is cursing his fever inwardly.
Renge lets out another long breath, she's (kind of) mentally prepared now.
Her face still as red as ever. "...P-please close your eyes..." Oh my God, this is so embarrassing.
Hiro snorts softly and his smile widens as he closes his eyes, complying her.
Before she takes the action, she takes off the compress, might as well change it later. Then Renge slowly approaches him. Her grip on his hand gets tighter the closer she is.
Her heart beats hard and loud as Hiro's face is now really close, she can feel his breath.
Renge clenches her eyes shut and dives in quickly, giving Hiro quick peck on the forehead. But because she's too nervous, she misses and it landed on the area between his eyes.
Hiro hums and chuckles when she actually lands on between his eyes instead of his forehead. Well, at least he gets her kiss.
Then he circles her waist with his free arm and tugs her lightly so that they get closer.
Renge almost lost her balance when Hiro pulls her closer. Fortunately, she manages to place her hand on the bed to hold her, so she doesn't fall on him.
"Hey! Don't do that without warning... I almost fell on you." She scolds him slightly.
Hiro laughs earnestly. "That's exactly the purpose." Nevertheless, he let go of her but still gripping her hand.
"Now, I can get... some nice rest. Thanks." That's a bit lie actually, he still feels insomniac due to the bad fever. But at least he's more content for now.
Hearing Hiro’s word made Renge pinch his cheeks lightly. He really likes teasing her doesn't he?
The girl goes back to her seat and rinses the compress into the cold water then back to Hiro's forehead.
"Y-you're welcome..." Renge replies with her head looking downward, her face is still beet red.
Hiro closes his eyes and sighs softly. He let his mind wanders away to a place where he could feel so content like this.
Well... there is one task he must has to do and finished. Chase him. Avenge mother. After that, he can do anything else. He will finally be free.
But... with the possibility that she might be his enemy, siding with that other persona user, Daisuke, Hiro doesn't know what to do about it. Of course he wouldn't let himself hurt her; he even will lash out to anyone who ever hurt her. But he also need his goal to be achieved.
Thinking about it making his head hurts more that he scowls and grit his teeth.
Goddammit. He just want a peaceful sleep. He becomes irritated that he unconsciously clenches Renge's hand hard.
As Hiro grips her hand tightly again, she gets even more concerned. Does he have insomnia maybe?
Then she remembers that time from the dance studio, where he also seemed to have trouble sleeping peacefully.
Renge holds his hand gently and starts to stroke his hair. A soft hum escaped her lips.
His train wrecking mind stops immediately. His face softens as he opens his eyes a bit, looking at the girl.
The gesture seems familiar. But it's not from her mother. He rarely had a nightmare before his mother's gone, though she ever did pat his head, stroke his hair. But this caring gesture... it seems that he experienced it some time ago, but he doesn't remember when.
Under her caring demeanor, Hiro sighs contently and closes his eyes back. He let himself focused on Renge's soft voice, lulling him slowly to sleep.
His insides warms from her affection. He wonders if she ever done this to anybody else. He wants her, and he only want that she do this for him alone.
With those in thoughts and listening to the girl's humming, he finally drives to sleep.
A smile of relief formed on Renge's face when she sees Hiro sleeping. She's glad this method works.
She rests her hand on the edge of the bed, then Renge stares at the boy laying in front of her.
If she remembers correctly, the cause of insomnia are often related to mental health. It makes her really wonder, what has happened to him?
He's sick but there's no one here to take care of him. Plus, he says that he has a caretaker so it means that he is living alone.
Maybe his parents works a lot so they... Don't pay much attention to him? And it makes their relationship distant? A lot of scenario crosses her mind, but then she remembers Hiro's sleep talk from that day.
She ponders about the weight of those words. What has happened to his mother? An incident harsh enough to make Hiro cry? There are several possibilities but... Renge doesn't really want to think that way.
Her head starts to hurt from thinking too much. Why is she even this concerned about it? It's not like her to be this nosy about someone else's private life.
She stares at Hiro's sleeping face again, her hand instinctively pats his head again.
"Maybe..." She mutters lowly. "I just don't want to see you get hurt."
Renge feels her eyes getting heavy. It's been a long day and the comfortable atmosphere is making her sleepy. She can't go home yet since Hiro's is sound asleep, so she should just wait for him to wake up first.
As Renge kept on patting Hiro's head, she slowly falling asleep on the edge of the boy's bed.
A sense of another presence woke him up. And he feels like he's holding someone's hand. And his head feels like there's a hand on it.
Hiro slowly opens his eyes and blinks. The room is dark with a bit of orange hue coming from the wide window. It's sunset. He thinks he really did sleep, and it was a restful one. Odd, he usually wake up in every hour and having a hard time to get back to sleep. So this one is quite... not so rare, though, but it's quite strange for him to finally have one in several days.
Then he turns his head to his left and finds a long, ginger-colored hair with a red ribbon. His heart skips a beat realizing that it's Renge, who seems to have fallen asleep. One of her hand is on his head, and one still grasping his hand.
The boy smiles at the view. The lights of sunset adorns her figure, showering her with the color of her own hair. Hiro thought he has never seen a sight so alluring, yet in his own room.
Hiro takes the compress away from his forehead. It's already dried. He still feels a bit lightheaded and his mind and body still rather sluggish, but he feels way much better somehow.
Then he takes Renge's other hand from his head and tries to sit up a bit and leans on the pillow, but think the better of it. His other hand is still on her hold, he might wake her up if he shifts that would make her uncomfortable.
Hiro snorts. She's looking so vulnerable like this. What should he do with this girl? The boy shakes his head while chuckling softly.
He decides to let it be like this for a long moment. While he waits, he shifts his body that he lay sideways, takes a slice of apple from the night stand and eats it.
When all the apples has been eaten, he stares at Renge. She's still sound asleep. As much as he want her to keep sleeping like this, it's not good for a girl to get home so late.
He brings his body up slowly that he finally sit up. Then the boy combs her hair gently and speaks, "Hey... wake up. It's almost night."
Renge sighs at the sound of Hiro waking her up. "Hmm..." She's still drowsy from the sleep.
Her eyes flutters open slowly, and she saw Hiro in front of her. It seems like he has gotten better from sleeping.
"Good evening, Isao-kun... How do you feel now?" She slurs out and smiles at him.
He smiles back at her. "Much better. Thanks to you." Though he feels a bit weary, but he can handle the rest by himself now that his head is not as heavy as before.
Then Hiro smirks, "Do you want to stay here a bit longer? I won't let go of your hand until you do." He strokes his thumb on the back of her hand as an emphasis.
She rubbed her eyes and laughs, he sounds like he has more energy now.
Renge looks out the window, seems like the night is closing in soon. "Hmm I would stay a little longer, but... I don't think my parents will approve." She smiles at him apologetically. "Let's check your temperature again before I go." She says as she takes the thermometer again.
"Hmm." Hiro grunts as she takes the thermometer. He leans back on the pillow, and the girl put the thermometer in his armpit, measuring his temperature.
Renge takes back the thermometer from him when it beeps. "37.0 degree Celsius... well, at least you get a lot better!" She says with relief.
37.0 degrees... It cannot says that he's fully recovered, but it's indeed better than before. He just needs to get eat more and drink an aspirin.
"Do you want to go now? I'll walk you home." Despite the headache he's still feeling and, he won't let a girl, especially Renge, walk alone in the dark. And the range of their house is quite far, but that's exactly the reason.
"Oh no, no, Isao-kun! Just stay and rest." She refuses, making a cross sign with her arms. "I'm not about to make a sick person get more sick by exposing him to cold night air."
"I'll use my coat." Hiro says stubbornly as he about to get up from bed.
"No!" She shoves him back down to the bed.
"Yoshi, I rarely return one's favor. So let me return yours." He holds Renge's both arms to stop her from shoving him and tries to get up again.
"No need to do that, Isao-kun, your condition is better now and that's enough for me." She pushes her arms to make Hiro stay on the bed.
Hiro withstands from Renge's push and stubbornly trying to get up. "Exactly, that's why I'm going to--" then with no warning, his head aches hard that he winces and falls forward to Renge's direction.
Renge quickly grasps him by his shoulders so he doesn't fall down. "See, this is what I'm talking about. Just be a good boy and rest, Isao-kun" She conveys and pats his back again.
Hiro whines lowly as Renge holds him and pats his back. So much of having a fever.
"...Alright." He sighs, finally surrenders. "...but at least let me get you to the front door."
She's glad that he's finally cooperative. The girl smiles and replies, "Okay! Let me pack up first."
Renge pats Hiro's head several times before she lets him go and begins to gather her belongings.
He's getting fond of Renge's head pats that he hums when she do it.
As Renge is packing up, Hiro gets up from bed carefully and stands up. His vision is still rather blurry. It seems that his blood pressure is still low, so it's no wonder that he's still having fireflies in his view.
When the girl is prepared, Hiro guides her to the front door of his house.
As they already arrive to the door, Hiro opens it for Renge. Then he looks at her. "Thank you for coming. I didn't know what I would become if you're not here."
"There are some leftover porridge, I put it in the fridge so just heat it up later. Also don't forget to drink lots of water too!" She says as they walk to the front door.
"Sure. I'll keep that in mind." Hiro replies.
Then the boy smiles. "I finally got a good sleep. Seems I need your presence for me to get a real sleep, then." He smirks teasingly. "I may beg you to come to my house again."
"You're most certainly welcome. I'm glad I could help." She smiles and laughs at Hiro's request. "No need to beg for it, Isao-kun! Just send me a message and I'll come."
Then he inclines his head and smiles faintly, "Can I have one last request?"
“What is it?”
Not telling what it is, Hiro directly close their range and pulls her into a hug. He holds her firmly in his strong arms, his face is serious.
He has a bad feeling. Of course he doesn't know what, but his instinct tells him that something bad might happen, either to him or her.
That's why he wanted to walk her in the first place. The boy tightens his arms, and he's trembling a bit.
Hiro whispers to her ear, "Be careful out there. If there's anything happen to you, tell me."
Renge is surprised when she's suddenly enveloped in the other's warmth. She can feel her cheeks are getting warmer by it.
She wonders if this is another episode of Hiro being needy or maybe something else. Either way, she smiles at him.
"Don't worry, I'll be fine." She giggles and pats his back again.
Hiro tightens his embrace more and buries his face in her hair. "I mean it, Yoshi. Just tell me and I'll be there."
He doesn't understand why he suddenly feels scared. He definitely doesn't like the feelings, that's why he hugs her for comfort... and to tell her that he really cares about her.
He let themselves like this for a long moment. Then he pulls himself off of her and brings a hand on her face, tucking back her hair and strokes her cheek with the back of his hand. His face is rather grim.
Hiro's gentle gestures are confusing her but it also makes her blush more.
Well... It's not like she dislikes it.
When he pulls away, she's met with the boy's grim expression. She gives him a reassuring smile and pats his head again.
"I'll keep that in mind. And good night, Isao-kun! Get well soon." She waves goodbye at him and makes her way back home.
Hiro looks at Renge's leaving figure until she's out of his sight.
Some incidents in the future cannot be avoided, he knows. That's why he need to be cautious. And with the abnormal situation he's having, like having different kind of Persona between them, he will need to be more extra cautious.
Hiro still doesn't know who she is, enemy or ally. But no matter who she is, he thinks as he goes inside and closes the door, he will protect her at all cost.
He won't lose another important person in his life. He won't let that happen again.