After a one-hour train ride from Seasoning City, Reigen cracked his stiff limbs carefully. He continued walking for about thirty minutes or so from the station before he finally arrived at the front of the assembly hall on Mob and Ritsu’ university. He scanned the place, blowing hot puffs of air to his ungloved hand and failed to see anyone he knew.
“Shishou!” there was a frown on Mob’s face as he and Ritsu came closer from Reigen’s left side. “It’s nine degrees, why aren’t you wearing proper clothing?” Mob scolded him for wearing only a coat as he took off his own scarf and put it on the older male. For once, Reigen didn’t refuse it because he was too tired and far too cold to object Mob. Ritsu silently noted the shivering from his brother’s master, but he didn’t say anything.
“Sorry, I had a last minute job and didn’t have the time to grab anything,” Reigen looked up at his tall disciple, giving him a sheepish smile as he burrowed his freezing face on the scarf, smelling of Mob. Before either of them could say anything, Ritsu had reached out his hand—his glove had been shed off—and put it on Reigen’s neck, satisfied that his warm palm elicited a shudder from the man.
“Let’s just get inside, away from the snow, Nii-san, Reigen-san,” Ritsu addressed them both, hand already urging the man to start walking towards the building.
“You’re right, Ritsu. It’s about time anyway, let’s go,” Mob walked beside Reigen, chatting happily with his master about his college life and Reigen congratulated him on his improved grades. Ritsu kept silent, but his hand never left Reigen’s neck.
They took off their warm clothing at the entrance, the three of them were looking sharp with crisp black suits and shined shoes. The inside of the room was fully decorated with a big, beautifully ornamented Christmas tree that stood at the corner of the room near the front, boxes of presents were scattered at its foot. There was a space in the middle of the room for dancing and round tables were set gorgeously around the room, while the buffet table was set away from the empty space, making sure if there was a queue it wouldn’t bother the dances. The university Christmas party was filled with merry people—the plus-ones, the students, the lecturers, and the staffs were all there to celebrate. The air was warm, and Reigen was enthralled in the bright room.
They took some food from the buffet and sat on a table. They talked together for a while before a lady with a sweet smile and nice fragrance came to their table and whisked Mob away.
“Ah, sorry, Shishou, my study group is here,” Reigen could hear his dilemma, not wanting to leave Reigen but also wanting to meet his friends. Reigen laughed, dismissing him with a cheerful smile. He was not going to get in-between the kid and his friends again.
“Go, Mob. I’ll be fine! Besides, I got Ritsu here.”
Mob chuckled and Ritsu smirked, amused by the comment. Mob then left the table to mingle with his friends, Reigen could see the smile that formed on Mob’s face as he met the rest of his friends.
“How about you, little brother? Not going to meet up with your friends?” Reigen drank his soda water, not wanting to drink a single alcohol lest he made a fool of himself in this formal gathering.
Ritsu gave him a sidelong glance, “You’re going to be okay if I left you alone?”
“Hey! I’m the adult here! Why are the two of you acting so high and mighty just because you got a bit taller than me, huh? I’ll be fine,” Reigen shook his head, “Really, you kids need to enjoy this moment to the fullest. Go have fun with your friends, Ritsu.”
There was a moment of silence as Ritsu gazed at the older male. There was something nagging at the back of his mind that made him unwilling to leave the man alone. He’d grown protective of his brother’s master, knowing full well that he was an adult of fifteen years over him, but still worry for the ordinary human.
“Go on, Ritsu,” Reigen added when the younger guy didn’t say anything. ‘What’s he thinking?’
With Reigen’s insistence, Ritsu finally stood up. He looked around a little and saw some people that he knew. Before he left, though, he reminded Reigen, “Call me or Nii-san if something happened.”
Reigen’s eyes went wide, “What am I, five? I can take care of myself, little brother,” Reigen laughed, a little perturbed by the unnecessary concern. Ritsu glared at him, though, and left as soon as Reigen closed his mouth. Reigen took a breather, enjoying the silence of being alone for a minute or so before finally standing up to mingle and meet new people.
Reigen struck up conversations with lots of people, his charming smile and silver tongue managed to appeal ladies and gentlemen and Reigen had a lot of interesting topics with all the intellects surrounding him. He was having fun, still tired, but the party was a great success for him. Some of the people were skeptical of his business, but some of them remembered him from that press conference years ago and all in all, Reigen was left feeling bubbly instead of uncomfortable in a foreign place surrounded by strangers.
Reigen had just left the washroom, feeling more and more tired as the minute went by when he overheard an obnoxiously fake and loud giggle.
“Oh, Ritsu-kun! That’s hilarious!” the girl with a short dress and hair pinned up extravagantly whispered loudly, chest pressed hard against Ritsu’s arm and he grimaced, trying to pull his hand away from her.
Ah, what a popular guy, Reigen chuckled under his breath. He took a seat near there, finding Ritsu’s struggle amusing. He noted delightfully how Ritsu’s frown deepened when the girl said something and pressed his hand on her cleavage. The younger Kageyama’s sibling only scowled, uncomfortable, but Reigen saw that his male friends were blushing and couldn’t tear their eyes off of the plump flesh.
The girl pushed and pushed, her mouth kept moving as she invaded Ritsu’s personal space. Reigen’s laugh died down when he saw that Ritsu was thoroughly annoyed, pulling his hand away harshly from the girl’s grip. The girl grabbed his left arm again, not discouraged, and Reigen thought that it was time for an intervention.
“Ritsu,” Reigen clasped Ritsu’s left shoulder from behind, forcing him to turn around and the girl to let her grasp go, glaring at Reigen.
“Reigen-san…,” Ritsu’s eyes widened, he was both surprised and glad to see the man.
“I need you there,” Reigen pointed to some direction behind him, “Come on,” he pulled him, arm encircling the taller kid’s shoulder.
“Wha—hey! Wait—!” the flabbergasted girl shouted, hands reaching out for Ritsu but Reigen blocked with his body. Ritsu looked back for a second, understanding that he was being saved by Reigen, and simply waved a little at his other friends.
“Thank you, Reigen-san,” Ritsu said when they were far away from the girl. Reigen took a glass from the table, downing another soda water. He was gradually getting tired now, things started to blur, ‘did I accidentally took an alcohol?' He mused, but he was sure he didn’t take a single sip of the various alcoholic beverages in the room.
“Reigen-san?” Ritsu called his attention, Reigen realized now that he hadn’t answered the kid.
“Ah? Yes, Ritsu, no problem. That girl was a little bit too enthusiastic,” Reigen replied.
Ritsu scoffed, “That’s an understatement,” he added, but Reigen wasn’t looking at him. Ritsu frowned, Reigen looked like he was sweating more than usual and spacing out.
“Reigen-san, your face is flushed,” he said, worried, “did you drink any alcohol?” he knew just how lightweight the man was.
“Eh?” Reigen slurred a bit, eyes narrowing, “I don’t think so. Why is it so hot in here?” Reigen pulled at his tie, about to walk away in search of fresh air when he tripped over his own feet.
“Reigen-san!” Ritsu quickly caught the tumbling man, voice barely above a whisper. “Watch your—” Ritsu stopped his reprimand, feeling the hotness from Reigen’s head seeped through his suit and also touched his neck, the feverish man’s head cradled against his shoulder.
“You’re burning up, dammit!” Ritsu said, alarmed, though the man mentioned only murmured some nonsense, cheek pressing against Ritsu’s soft suit jacket.
Ritsu reached into his pocket, fumbling to get his phone while his other hand held the sick and weak man in a firm embrace. He ignored the look he got from the other guests, focusing on Reigen who hadn’t even tried to stand up.
“Shit,” Ritsu cursed when Mob failed to pick up his call. The chastise he used to get from the older man whenever he curses was absent, it seemed that Reigen was really out of it and hadn’t really heard him. Ritsu tried to call his brother again, but the call went to voicemail. ‘The place is pretty noisy, I guess,’ Ritsu reasoned. He decided to put Reigen down on a chair because he needed to search for Mob first before they could go home.
“Reigen-san, stay here, okay? I’m going to look for Nii-san,” Ritsu crouched down, hands grabbing Reigen’s hot cheek to make sure that the man had heard him.
“Mmhm,” was Reigen’s response, eyes gradually hazy with fever but he could still see the worry on Ritsu’s face. “Sorry for getting sick,” he mumbled.
Ritsu smoothed down Reigen’s hair, slick with sweat, his tone softer, “What are you apologizing for? Jeez, Reigen-san. Just wait here, alright?” And with a nod from Reigen, Ritsu left the man and searched the crowd for his brother’s unique bowl cut hair.
Thankfully, it didn’t take long before Ritsu found his brother talking merrily among his friends. Ritsu approached him from behind, calling him.
“Nii-san,” Ritsu tried to hide his anxiety, but from the sharp turn his brother made upon hearing his voice, Ritsu was curious if his concern had bled out.
“What is it, Ritsu?” Mob walked away from the group, waving his hand as if he didn’t expect to join them again.
“Reigen-san is sick. I think he has a high fever,” Ritsu whispered, worry plastered his face as Mob’s face paled.
“Where is he?” Mob demanded and Ritsu quickly pulled him towards the slumping man, sitting alone not far from there.
Mob rushed as soon as he caught the sight of light brown hair. He kneeled down, hand automatically rest on Reigen’s thigh and the other waved off his bang and touch his forehead.
“Shishou, how are you feeling?”
Reigen closed his eyes, wallowing in the cool palm on his burning forehead.
“I’m fine, Mob. Just a little dizzy, nothing to worry about.” Mob moved his hand away from the forehead and cupped his face, the skin of the older man unbelievably hot. “Really, I’m okay. You can go back to your friends, Ritsu, too, and I’ll wait here until the party ends, how about that?”
Reigen gave a small smile, a bit weak on his pale and flushed face. Mob’s face unchanging, but he made an effort to soften his voice and soothe his master’s unnecessary thoughtfulness.
“We’re going home, Shishou. You’re running quite a high fever and you need to rest. Come on, now,”
“Shishou.” Mob curbed any of his protest and Reigen relented. “Can you walk?” he asked after that.
“Yeah—yeah I can,” Reigen said a little breathlessly. Mob helped him up, though, his hand was on Reigen’s back to help him steady himself.
Ritsu went first to get their outer layers. They wore their coats and added Ritsu’s gloves as well as Mob’s scarf and winter hat to the shivering man. The temperature outside hadn’t changed much, and fortunately, the snow hadn’t piled up.
“I couldn’t get a taxi,” Ritsu whispered to his brother, mindful not to let the frugal man heard him. “Should we wait or what?”
Mob looked at the man leaning heavily on him. Mob was worried that they really shouldn’t dawdle around.
“Walk? It’s only fifteen minutes,” Ritsu added helpfully.
Mob nodded, “Yeah, okay.” He turned to his master, securing his grip on his waist, while Ritsu took the other side.
They walked for a few minutes before Reigen stumbled, knees feeling weak. “Wait, I—uh,” Reigen caught his breath, his throat and nose stung from the cold air and his legs were wobbly.
“Here,” the tallest of the three, Ritsu, crouched down, ready to carry the man. “Hop on.”
“What? Ritsu, no! I can’t!” Reigen fervently refused, his hands flailing around with little energy.
Without saying anything, Mob used his psychic power to lift Reigen effortlessly, “Woah! Mob!” and then dumping him on his brother’s back. Reigen’s head unintentionally rested on the back of Ritsu’s neck, feeling a little faint and dazed from the sudden floating. He glared at his disciple, but Mob only stared back with his impassive face.
“Just tell me if you’re going to barf,” Ritsu stood up, hands grabbing a tight hold on Reigen’s thighs. He felt his brother used his power to help carry the man because Reigen wasn’t as heavy as Ritsu had anticipated.
The sick man nodded, his warm breath tingling Ritsu’s skin. He then started to walk, slowly and carefully not to jostle the added person on his back.
“Wait, this is not the way to the station…?” apparently Reigen was now lucid enough to notice, he looked around weakly.
“You’re sick, there’s no way you’re going home alone.” Mob simply stated. Reigen quieted down at that, not going to oppose Mob, not when he wasn’t sure he could walk by himself for more than five meters, anyway.
Along the way, they shared comfortable silence. Ritsu would occasionally send a look at his brother, silently asking Reigen’s condition. Mob would only shake his head and other times he would quietly ask Reigen how he was feeling. The man just mumbled “I’m fine, I’m okay,” all the time and it irked Ritsu how stubborn Reigen was when it was obvious that he was not fine, but Ritsu supposed it was part of his charm as a good person.
Before long, they’ve reached their 2LDK apartment—Ritsu carefully put Reigen down on his brother’s bed while Mob fetched clean clothes, water, some medicine, and small towel dipped in a basin. When he got back, Ritsu left the room and went to his own to change out of his suit.
“You need to change your clothes, Shishou,” the bed dipped as Mob murmured and sat down there. He helped Reigen removed his outer layers; coat, gloves, winter hat, scarf, and his suit jacket, as well as his loose tie.
“I can do it by myself, Mob,” Reigen muttered, hands stopping Mob’s which hovered on his shirt’s button. The young man stared at him for a minute, judging Reigen’s drowsiness and whether he was truly able or not.
“Alright then, here’s my clothes,” Mob gave his a set of nicely folded blue plaid pajamas. “I’ll change outside and make some okayu,”
Reigen gave him a dazed smile. “Thank you, Mob. Sorry for the trouble,” he added sheepishly.
“I’m just glad you’re not sick and at home alone, Shishou.” Mob returned his smile, hand gripping Reigen’s forearm and gave it a squeeze before he left the room and closed the door.
“I got the okayu, Nii-san, you can change first,” Ritsu said, already standing in front of the stove.
“Thanks, Ritsu,” Mob replied and head to the bathroom, deciding for a quick shower.
When he was done, Mob could smell the boiling rice and he followed the fragrance to the kitchen.
“Ten more minutes, Nii-san,” Ritsu informed him, resting his head on the kitchen table as he browsed the channel on the TV. It only showed Christmas news and old movies. “Why don’t you check on him first? I’ll bring the okayu later.”
“Okay.” He answered and quietly walked towards his room. When he opened the door, he found Reigen had worn the pajama pants but was struggling with his shirt with only one hand managed to come out of the hole.
“Shishou, what are—” you doing? Was what Mob was about to say with an amused sigh but he stopped short upon seeing Reigen’s naked front side. It was bruised badly near his right shoulder, on his right side, and across his stomach. Mob’s blood went cold and the air literally crackled with his psychic energy.
“Shishou, you’re hurt,” Mob stated, the words left a bitter taste in his mouth. “What happened? How did you get hurt?”
Ritsu, noticing his brother’s frayed energy, turned the stove off and went to check on his brother.
“Nii-san? What’s wrong?” he asked, but no one answered, not that he needed it when he saw Reigen’s colored body. “I’ll get the ice gel pack,” he mumbled more to himself, darting away from the room. He didn’t really want to intrude on their moment, especially with the obvious emotions that choked the air. Seeing Reigen’s bruised body also sparked an anger in him, but his brother needed to know—to care for Reigen—more than him, what with being his disciple and the most important person in their own lives while Ritsu had spent nearly half a decade hating the man before finally respecting him and trusting his brother’s master as a good person. But that was another story for another time.
Meanwhile, Reigen clumsily put his head and his other hand through the holes, quickly covering his injured torso. Feverish haze was almost gone with the heavy atmosphere.
“Ah, it was nothing, Mob,” Reigen dismissed him with a small, pained smile. “Just small bruises.”
“Small bruises?!” apparently that had been the wrong thing to say as Mob crossed the small room in one swift movement, hand pulled up the hem of Reigen’s shirt to show the contusions. “Shishou! This is serious! What happened?” Reigen blushed at Mob’s forwardness but Mob himself was too livid to notice it. He noted with a grimace that the purple-blackish bruises had no greenish or yellow hue on them. ‘This was recent,’ Mob’s brows furrowed closer.
Reigen sighed, he grabbed Mob’s hand and pulling it down (and his clothes at the same time) and held it. “It was nothing, Mob, just an angry client,” Reigen said in a soothing manner, “He pushed me around a little and I fell against the table.” His thumb slowly caressed Mob’s skin, hoping his honesty would appease Mob’s rage. He didn’t expect Mob to break down, though.
“Shishou…” Mob crouched down, burying his face in Reigen’s neck. Small things began to float. “Shishou…” he repeated, hands clutching at the fabric of the pajama.
“Mob? What’s wrong? I’m really okay if that’s what you’re worried about.” Reigen was confused, he was running a high fever so his mind was jumbled and the sight of Mob’s breaking down was something he rarely saw. He opted to gently pat Mob's trembling shoulders.
"It's not okay, Shishou. You were never supposed to get hurt! Not by spirits or humans. I made sure of that! And now that I'm so far away, I can't protect you anymore." He choked out, voice laced with regret.
Reigen shook his head, "hey, hey, it's not your job to protect me, Mob. I'm the grown-up and I should be able to protect myself and you, too. I might not be able to defend myself from spirits and such, but human is my forte." Reigen pushed Mob away, wanting to see his face, "He caught me off guard, Mob, really. I managed to defend myself before he got too rough."
But Mob was still not happy with it. "Who was it, Shishou?"
"No one you should trouble yourself. And you too, Ritsu." Reigen added and Mob didn't realize his brother had been at the door. "He's not worth it, okay? Just let it go."
Ritsu didn't say anything and Mob pouted slightly. It was oddly comforting and Reigen felt warmth (other than his fever) spreading over him at such display of care and concern.
"Call me when this kind of thing happen. Promise me, Shishou," Mob stared at him, hard. Reigen didn't really want to promise something he had no intention of keeping, but he supposed if it was the other way around he would also demand Mob to call him.
Reigen smiled, ruffling Mob's bowl-cut hair. "I promise, Mob."
Mob, seemingly satisfied with his answer, finally let out a breath of relief, stuff falling back into their respective places with cluttering sounds.
Ritsu fully stepped inside the room then and set down a tray of okayu and water on the bedside table, the ice gel packs followed behind him, floating off in the air with his psychic power. Mob grabbed them while Reigen took off his pajama shirt, the sight of the bruises bothered the two brothers but they held their tongue. The ice gel packs were set against the bruises with Mob’s power and Reigen ate his okayu before he drank his cold med.
“Get some rest, Shishou,” Mob murmured as he smoothed down the blanket covering Reigen. His eyelids were heavy, and Reigen only mumbled out an “Okay,” before his eyes closed and his breathing started to even out. He missed out on the Kageyama’s brothers softly caressing his hair away from the wet cloth on his face before leaving him to rest alone.
“Are you going to set up a futon in my room or are you going to use the sofa?” after the door closed, Ritsu asked his brother as he stifled a yawn.
“I’ll stay on the couch, easier to hear him if he needed anything.” Mob looked at the couch and found a bedding was already set on it, “Thanks, Ritsu,” he added.
“Wake me up if you need anything, Nii-san,” Ritsu gave Mob a smile that morphed into a yawn, “Good night.”
Mob nodded then replied “Good night,” and he went to the couch as Ritsu let the door on his room opened a little. He quickly passed out on the bed, snoring softly.
Mob, on the other hand, had settled on the couch and watched the late night show television to numb his mind. He berated himself for not knowing that Reigen had been hurt and had somehow gotten sick. ‘He probably was too tired from the last job,’ he reasoned with himself, remembering that Reigen must’ve stayed without warm outer layer for quite some time before the party. Mob sighed, feeling distressed at not being so involved with Reigen’s life anymore. He loved college life, he loved his friends—but he missed the old days where he would spend the rest of the day with Reigen in their office; casually talking about stuffs, Reigen nervously helping him with homework, watching his master exorcised evil spirits through massages, smelling that smell of massage oils that clung in the office room after a session, and of course Mob missed the distinctive smell that made up of his master—the smell of salt, sweat, sand, and his fabric softener that always calmed Mob.
The image of Reigen’s bruised torso sparked again and Mob gritted his teeth in anger, wondering if this kind of things happened before. ‘He looked too calm. He was hesitant to tell me. He called it ‘nothing’,’ and Mob concluded that maybe it had happened before and he was just too oblivious to notice it. He felt so bitter—so angry and regretful—of everything.
He didn’t realize that he had slept, but he must’ve dozed off when a harsh scream jolted him awake. At first, he didn’t sure that he had heard that—but the TV was showing nothing except a moving clock which showed 03.48 a.m. and he only heard the hum of electricity. But then, the guttural scream came back with full force, and Mob was alert, frantically untangling himself from the sheet and hurried towards his room, opening the door with a bang that woke Ritsu up and a shouted “Shishou?!”
The wet cloth fell to the pillow and soaking it, Reigen was thrashing under the blanket apparently having a nightmare from the scrunched up face. His body is tense, and sweat layered on his skin.
“Reigen-shishou!” Mob was beside the bed already, trying to wake the man. “Shishou,” Mob tried again with a softer, yet firm, voice. His hands grabbed hold of Reigen’s shoulders to make sure he didn’t hurt himself.
“Shishou? Wake up, please, you’re having a nightmare,” Mob tapped his shoulders lightly, “wake up, Shishou, you’re at my apartment and you’re fine,” he continued.
“M-Mob…?” Reigen movement slowed down, his eyes were opened and they were filled with tears. “Mob…?”
“Yes, Shishou, it’s me. You—” before he finished, Reigen embraced him in a tight hug, holding desperately on Mob’s midsection and burying his face in it. “Shishou…?”
“Yo-you…you were dead, Mob! I couldn’t save you against Suzuki and you were dead! You were dead and I couldn’t do anything!” Reigen blabbered, his tears dampened the clothes. His hold was desperate and he sobbed. “I’m so sorry, Mob, I’m so sorry for being so useless.”
Mob had a hard time remembering who was Suzuki that Reigen referred to, but finally able to recall his battle against the Claw’s boss. ‘That was such a long time ago… Has he been having nightmares about that time? Had he been blaming himself all this time?' Mob wondered solemnly.
Mob rested his right hand on the back of Reigen’s neck, his left hand moving up and down on the man’s back. “You’re not the one at fault—you’re not useless, Shishou. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me and you have to believe that,” He softly said on top of Reigen’s head, leaving small kisses there, “It was a long time ago, I’m fine, you’re fine, and no one is hurt, okay? It was just a nightmare, I’m alive and well, Shishou,” Mob cooed at the man. Reigen calmed down enough that his sobbing quieted down and he wasn’t trembling harshly. Mob continued to hold his master, mumbling sweet nothings to the scared man that kept blaming himself for being a bad master.
Ritsu looked at both of them from the doorway, hesitating again to interrupt such a tender and intimate moment between them. He gazed longingly for he had never witnessed how sweet and affectionate his brother could be, and Ritsu suspected it would only be aimed at his master, the man who cared for his brother like no one else. The older man had always put their safety first, even though Ritsu had always doubted him and scorned him for being the fraud that he was, always greeted Ritsu nicely even when he glared daggers at the man. When Ritsu thought about that, he felt so silly and embarrassed for his immature actions—to not believe in his brother’s judgement—and to not believe in the sincere smiles that Reigen had given him before.
Mob caught the sight of Ritsu on the doorway, though, as he was slightly tilting his head and stroked his cheek on Reigen’s tresses. His face turned beet red at being caught in the act—but he didn’t let go and he stayed leaned down, cheek on Reigen’s. Ritsu, looking at his flustered brother, became flustered also. Before the brothers could say anything, Mob noticed that Reigen’s hold on him had loosened up and the man had fallen asleep.
Momentarily overlooking Ritsu, Mob pushed Reigen to the bed. He whined, though, eyes opening again with fever haze—which Mob assumed meant that his master wouldn’t remember any of this—and he gazed sadly at Mob. “Don’t leave me, please,” Reigen’s voice was choked with a whimper and it broke the brothers’ hearts.
Mob shushed him softly, “It’s okay, Shishou, I’m not leaving, okay?” he gave a small kiss again to his head, ‘Ah, it feels like he became a clingy kid,’ Mob chuckled internally, secretly loving the different of the usual independent Reigen and this one. He let out a small smile and noticed that Ritsu was still on the door, “is it okay if Ritsu joins us?” he asked the older man and his brother was clearly shocked that Mob wanted him around.
“Uh-huh,” Reigen nodded, already scooted to the middle of the bed to give sufficient space on both sides. Mob gave Ritsu a small smile, encouraging the younger male while he went under the cover on Reigen’s left side.
Ritsu sighed, but he was glad that he got to partake in this undefined situation, happily went under the blanket on the right side. The bed was a little crowded but sufficiently comfortable, especially with the emotional reassurance of being together.
“Sleep, Shishou,” Mob said not unkindly, he turned around and found that Reigen had drifted off to sleep, his face was neutral and there was no hint of the previous childlike clinginess and fear. Both Mob and Ritsu heard the soft snore that came out of Reigen’s lips and drifted off to sleep listening to it.
It might’ve been a little bit closer to the afternoon when Reigen opened his eyes, hearing the bustling of life outside the window. He groaned as he noted that his headache had dulled immensely.
‘Aah, what the heck happened last night?' Reigen marveled and bits of memories from last night went behind his closed eyelids. He remembered the party, the embarrassing piggyback, the uncomfortable exposé of his injuries of yesterday’s morning, and vaguely pondered whether he ate the medicine or not. ‘Judging from my state, I guess I did,’ Reigen concluded.
And then there was another groan, one that didn’t come out of his mouth. ‘Eh?’
Reigen looked around and finally noticed the two added bodies on his sides. He was aware now of the limbs splayed around him that held him close under the blanket. ‘Eh?’
On his left, his disciple pushed his face close to Reigen’s shoulder, wetting a patch of his pajama with drool. On his right, the little brother of his disciple had rested his head on Reigen’s chest with his spiky hair tickling Reigen’s neck. Both of the brothers draped across their long arms over Reigen’s body, enveloping him snugly and tucking their hands on Reigen’s sides while their long legs entangled with Reigen’s.
Reigen froze, he didn’t understand the situation that he was in. ‘What the hell happened last night?! When did they get in?! What is going on?!’ his mind went wild and it didn’t provide any answers.
“Uh…Mob…?” Reigen hesitantly called his sleeping disciple, but the young man only snuggled closer from the voice interrupting his sleep. Reigen tensed even more.
He considered waking up Ritsu, but previous experience told Reigen that it’d be best to let the kid sleep undisturbed.
“Mob…!” Reigen jerked his left shoulder and thankfully Mob groggily opened his eyes from the sudden movement. “Mob,” Reigen called again, whispering.
Mob rubbed his eyes, “Shishou…?” he croaked, looking up at Reigen. “How are you feeling?”
“Better now, but totally uncomfortable now with the two of you sandwiching me,” Reigen grumbled, gritting his teeth. Mob nodded, untangled himself and sat up, yawning while he hid the faint blush on his face as his mind went in the gutter at the mention of sandwiching Reigen.
“What happened last night? Why did the two of you sleep here?” Thankfully, Reigen didn’t notice the blush, but Mob was uncertain on how to tell Reigen about the early morning fiasco.
“What did you remember, Shishou? Your fever was quite high last night,” Mob touched Reigen’s forehead, glad that the man had normal temperature.
Reigen shooed his hand away, “Uh… I barely remember swallowing the medicine,” his mind worked hard to recall anything that happened last night. Mob let his master alone with his mind, still sitting on the bed as he checked his phone. When he looked back at Reigen, he saw the blush that covered Reigen’s face to his neck and ears, his hand covering his gaping mouth.
“Wai—No… Oh god…,” Reigen was mortified. His recollection might not be complete, but the stuff that he did remember was very embarrassing. He recalled that he had clung to Mob and asked him to stay with him. He guessed Ritsu must’ve been there, too, for him to be on the bed.
Mob smiled a little, “You had a nightmare, Shishou. It’s fine.” He had to hold himself not to caress Reigen’s face because right now, this was not the clingy, scared Reigen but instead the mature and capable Reigen, his master. Mob couldn’t simply touch and comfort him now.
“Y-Yeah… I guess I did,” Reigen couldn’t really remember what he had dreamed about, but it must’ve been quite scary for him to grabbed Mob like that. The blood rushed back to his face, “Uh… Sorry Mob, I was really out of it. I don’t really remember much.”
“It’s okay, Shishou, don’t mind it.” Mob gave him another smile, “I’m glad you’re feeling better.” He stood up, “I’ll cook breakfast.”
“Uh, Mob?” Reigen called him before Mob could leave the room, “Could you…could you get him off of me? I’d like to go to the toilet,” Reigen pointed at the sleeping Ritsu, and it just clicked in Mob’s brain that Ritsu still got a tight hold wrapped around Reigen.
“Ah, okay,” with a flick of his palm, Ritsu’s body float up and his hold on the old man loosened. Reigen quickly got away from the bed as Mob put his brother back on it, but Ritsu’s eyes had already opened.
“Are you okay, Reigen-san? Are you feeling better?” Ritsu asked, yawning. He threw the blanket and scoot to the edge of the bed.
Reigen blushed, ‘Why are these kids so casual!?’ he thought, still could feel the tight clutch of the young men on him. “Y-yeah, much better. Sorry for troubling you last night.”
Ritsu only hmmed and then let out another yawn, relieved. “I’m going back to my bed, Nii-san,” he said as he left the room.
“Okay, I’ll wake you up when breakfast is ready,” Mob told him, not expecting an answer from his brother. He turned to Reigen, “the toilet is across the hall, Shishou.”
“Ah? Oh, okay,” Reigen nearly forgot that he desperately needed to pee. “Thanks. Mob,” he then dashed away.
Mob, left alone in his own room, decided to clean up the bed with his psychic power and the bedding straightened itself. Mob’s mind lingered to the warmth of Reigen’s body beside him last night. He wondered if it was normal to get so hung up on it—the feeling of comfort and the rightness of it.
He thought that maybe he should ask his master if he wanted to live with them together. That way, Ritsu and Mob could help him more on a day-to-day basis rather than waiting for Reigen’s irregular call to exorcise some troublesome spirits. Having their life entangled again was an added bonus—or more like the main prize.
Mob nodded to himself, ‘Right, I should make breakfast first then ask Ritsu if he is okay with that.’ He couldn’t help himself from smiling like a fool in his own room, imagining Reigen saying yes to the three of them living together.
Mob then pulled himself together and hurriedly went to the kitchen to finish making breakfast. Reigen helped him halfway and Mob accidentally let out a chuckle when he imagined making food together, do spring cleaning, and greeting each other when leaving and arriving home, acting all domestic together. Reigen looked at him questioningly but dismissed it when Mob gave him a small smile.
‘I really hope he’d say yes.’