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Sore Throat

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"Kokichi, are you alright?"

The words echoed strangely in the empty classroom, and Kokichi paused in his packing up, ready to go home and sleep for the rest of the day. He raised his head from where he was putting away folders in his bag to see Shuichi, golden gray eyes glittering with concern. Kokichi grinned.

"Of course I am! I'm the Ultimate Supreme Leader, after all! I've always gotta be in tip-top shape for my organization!" Kokichi looked back down, holding back a wheeze as he checked once more that he had everything before zipping up his bag and standing up. "I'm perfectly – woah."

There wasn't much warning, just his sight going a bit dark and a pressure that felt like the ground was tugging him down before he was sitting on the ground, staring at Shuichi's legs as his mind tried to catch up with what just happened. Shuichi might have been saying something, but Kokichi was too busy trying to blink away the dizziness he was suddenly swamped with to spare enough focus to hear him. Raising one hand to his head and beginning to feel the sting of tears at the edge of his eyes, Kokichi had to wonder, What the hell was that?!

"Kokichi?!"

Ah, now Kokichi could hear him. Kokichi gazed up through the retreating darkness to see Shuichi's face etched with worry, one hand outstretched like he wanted to help. Upon seeing Kokichi focus on him, he relaxed slightly and started to pull his hand back, but Kokichi grabbed it before he could.

"Hey, don't just leave your leader down here! Help me up!" Kokichi joked, trying to hide the tremors in his hands by squeezing Shuichi's hand tight. Shuichi winced, and though he still looked extremely concerned, helped Kokichi up until he could stand by himself by leaning on a desk.

"Kokichi?" Shuichi asked, but Kokichi didn't look at him, breathing more heavily than he would have liked as he tried to get his balance back. Maybe going to school when I feel like throwing up was a bad idea, he reflected, and would have giggled quietly to himself if his throat felt like co-operating.

A hand rested on his shoulder, and Kokichi's eyes met Shuichi's, who was bending down to look at him. "Kokichi, are you sure you're feeling okay? It's okay if you're not, you know," he added, and Kokichi's foggy brain tried to think of something he could use to refute that there was anything wrong. He didn't need any help!

"I didn't say you did," Shuichi said, and Kokichi's day went from bad to slightly worse as he realized he said that aloud. He groaned, wishing he could just rest his head on something.

"I'm fine, Shuichi," Kokichi retorted, but his scratchy throat undercut any bite the words may have had. Kokichi pushed himself off the desk and past Shuichi, grabbing his bag and turning towards the door. "Now, if that's all, can I go? I've got a –" Kokichi broke off to cough and clear his throat. "Very important meeting," he finished weakly.

"That's a lie," Shuichi said quietly, as if it wasn't obvious. "If you don't want me, I can leave, but I'm worried about you." Kokichi opened his mouth to say something about how he didn't need to, but it seemed Shuichi knew him too well, because he quickly continued, "You just nearly passed out! I'm not leaving a friend in need like that. Please, just let me help you to your dorm?"

Kokichi's eyes drooped as Shuichi finished. His bag was weighing down in his hands, more so than it would even on days when it would be full to the brim, and Kokichi wasn't sure he could make it all the way back to his room without needing to take another break in a bathroom to throw up. He didn't really have much choice, did he?

"Okay," he croaked up, and Shuichi's face lit up. Kokichi wished he had enough energy to stop the smile that creeped across his face at the sight. "Only my bag, though."

Shuichi took his bag before he spoke, voice calm and clear. "That's alright," he said, and stepped back to let Kokichi take the lead out of the classroom. Wordlessly, Kokichi did so.

Their journey passed without conversation or pause, except for the times when Kokichi had to sit down and regain his strength before moving on. Shuichi waited patiently for him, and when Kokichi mentioned during one of these breaks how it was bullshit how you felt worse as a sick day went on, he laughed.

"I think that's because you've been exerting yourself all day," he said lightly, and Kokichi wished he had a better retort than telling him to shut it.

Finally, they reached his dorm room, and after unlocking his door Kokichi couldn't even find the strength to protest or tease as Shuichi entered his room without a verbal invitation. Kokichi shuffled over and collapsed on the bed, not bothering to take off his shoes or change out of his clothes.

"Kokichi, are you good there?" Shuichi asked from somewhere in the room, and Kokichi grunted in response. He heard the sound of movement and clinks come from near the door as he lay there; were it not for those sounds and the fact that his throat was killing him, Kokichi would have been completely content to fall asleep right then and there.

Shuichi suddenly appeared in his vision, bending over him with a frown, and Kokichi frowned right back. "What?" he rasped.

"Do you need anything?" Shuichi's voice betrayed nothing but kind intentions that Kokichi almost couldn't believe we're meant for him. Shuichi continued with a softer tone, "Water? Blankets? For me to leave?"

Kokichi was about to answer, teasing joke right on the tip of his tongue, when he got a horrible feeling in his stomach. Immediately he sat up and slid off the bed, hurrying past Shuichi with a "Close my door!" tossed over his shoulder. Kokichi slammed the bathroom door behind him as hard as he could in his weakened state, and sat by the toilet, waiting.

Kokichi swallowed as he tried to keep down the nausea, noting with a flinch how the feeble action made his throat hurt even more. He tossed the sink a regretful glance, but he wasn't willing to get up until he knew he wasn't going to puke all over his own bathroom.

There was a knock at the door. "Kokichi? I closed your door, and locked it too," Shuichi said, and Kokichi let his eyes flutter shut for just a second as he listened. "I wasn't sure whether you wanted me to stay or not, so I stayed, okay?"

He's less squeamish about this than I thought he'd be, Kokichi thought, somewhere in his tired mind. He wasn't willing to make his throat hurt anymore than he had to, so, slightly upset as he realized he'd spent all his talking energy just walking back here, opened his eyes and replied, "Okay, just wait there."

"Okay," Shuichi confirmed, and it was then Kokichi realized with some joy that his nausea was gone. Standing up and leaning on the sink with one arm, Kokichi turned the faucet and scooped water into his mouth with the other hand. It helped his throat, somewhat, but it took a good few handfuls before his throat stopped hurting everytime he swallowed.

Turning off the faucet, Kokichi took a moment to breathe before he opened the bathroom door, blinking in surprise to see Shuichi sitting on a chair next to his bed, flipping through some book. I know he said he was staying, but – "Aw, is Shuichi playing nursie now?"

Shuichi jumped, face going red as he realized Kokichi was there. "Koki –" he began, but cut off as Kokichi fell into a coughing fit. Within a few moments, Kokichi was being guided to the bed, and a cough drop was being placed in his hand. A hand rubbed his back as his fit subsided, and Kokichi wasted no time unwrapping the cough drop and tossing it in his mouth.

"You good?" Shuichi asked, and Kokichi would have been lying if he said he didn't lean into the detective's warmth. Shuichi's hand moved from his back to his arm, and if he had the energy to, Kokichi would have joked about how the two of them were basically cuddling now.

"Mhm." Kokichi closed his eyes again, and Shuichi replied with something that he didn't quite catch. He didn't care, though.

"Shuichi..." Kokichi said softly, and Shuichi stopped rubbing his arm.

"Yeah?"

Kokichi smiled, and whispered one last thing before he fell asleep.

"Thanks for being my nurse, Shuichi."

He heard one last thing before he fell asleep too.

"Kokichi don't sleep with a cough drop in your mouth, you'll choke!"

But it was too late for warnings, and Kokichi was out like a light.